July 8, 2016

Managing absence on the least productive day of the year

With a disruptive summer of sport ahead, managing employee absence as sports fans seek ways to watch their teams could be a real headache for business.


Today is a big day for sport.

We’ve got Andy Murray in the semi finals at Wimbledon (bravo).

There’s Lewis Hamilton revving up in qualifying for the British Grand Prix (zoom).

And Yellow Jersey favourite Chris Froome is riding out with the other Brits in Team Sky on the seventh stage of the Tour de France (clip).

Oh, and there’s the athletics European Championships in Amsterdam where our track & field champs are sharpening up for the Rio Olympics in four weeks time.

In truth, today is a big day for sports fans.

When we surveyed 2,000 employees across businesses the length and breadth of the country 86% told us they would be watching major sporting events this summer.

Here’s their top ten events:

1. UEFA 2016 (58.9% will be watching)
2. Rio Olympics (53.7%)
3. Wimbledon (48.3%)
4. Formula 1 British Grand Prix (31%)
5. Rio Paralympics (26.7%)
6. Tour de France (20.2%)
7. Cricket (19.1%)
8. Royal Ascot (14.4%)
9. Rugby League (13.8%)
10. Goodwood (9.4%)

As you can see, three of the top ten are taking place today (as well as one last night – hard luck Germany fans).

But what’s more:

One-in-ten of the employees we surveyed said they would call in sick to watch their favourite sports players or teams, and when it came to those aged 25 to 34, the number planning to stay away from work more than doubled.

Plus one-in-six expect their productivity to drop as a result of the sporting schedule.

Which is why we are calling today the most unproductive day of the year (you can hear Moorepay MD Alison Dodd explain why in this out-take from ShareRadio).

So what does it mean for business? And what do businesses need to consider?

Few employers can afford to lose 10-20% of their workforce, so it’s vital you understand not only how to keep absenteeism to a minimum, but also how to differentiate between genuine and bogus absences.

That’s why it’s essential you ensure the process is handled correctly, and within the letter of the law.

This checklist for managing employee absence gives you an outline of the things you should be thinking about.

Do you:

Have a clear absence policy?
Actively publicise and enforce your absence policy?
Conduct return-to-work interviews?
Offer flexible working or unpaid leave?
Provide safe and comfortable working conditions?
Deal with employee problems in a sensitive manner?
Do your best to keep up team morale?
Encourage a positive and friendly working environment?
Have a solution in place to monitor and review absence
(for example moorepayhr)?

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About the author

Stuart Clough

Stuart (MCIPR) is a trained journalist, writer and marketer with ten years' experience in B2B, public sector and employee communications. A former marketing consultant and agency client-lead, Stuart is responsible for communications and content at Moorepay.