Employers’ guide to the Olympics

In just a few days, the world’s eyes will be focused on Great Britain during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. And with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry telling firms to get ready for the challenges, as well as the opportunities, our Sage People Advice service team have pulled together an essential guide to taking control during the biggest sporting event on Earth.

Curse of the sickie

Traditionally, employers can suffer from a depleted workforce during big occasions like the Olympics.  Employees may call in sick, either to stay home and watch an event, or because they’re suffering from the effects of the night before.Sage People Advice

But by understanding how important the Games are to some employees and offering a fair compromise, you can use next summer’s event as a way to boost morale and productivity.

Communication is everything

Firstly, it’s important that you make it absolutely clear what your expectations during the Olympic and Paralympic periods are (27 July to 12 August and 29 August to 9 September respectively). Remind your employees of your absence procedure: who to call, when to call and so on.

Make it clear that if an employees’ sickness links directly to the Games, an investigation may take place and they may be asked to provide a medical certificate to support their absence. If satisfactory evidence can’t be provided to support the sickness absence, you should be clear about what action (if any) may be taken, ie disciplinary action.

Reach a compromise

Once that is communicated, you can begin to consider what you can offer to help employees enjoy the event, for instance:

  • Implementing flexible working and shift-swaps.
  • Providing an area to watch or listen to key competitions.

What Olympics?

It’s also important to remember that not everyone cares about the Olympics. Be careful not to exclude those who’d rather not get caught up in the excitement.

Jenny Graham, Sage People Advice team