“Can we watch the World Cup at work?”

If you’re running a social enterprise, you’ll almost definitely have been hit with that question at some stage over the last few days, and as the tournament roars into life this week, those requests will probably increase in volume.

It’s an age old challenge for employers: how do you satisfy the football fans among the ranks who don’t want to miss the action while still remaining productive and not alienating those who couldn’t give two hoots about England vs Panama?

Whether or not England are likely to get knocked out in the group stages is obviously up for debate, but for as long as they’re in the tournament, you might want to give some thought as to how your social enterprise will deal with the prospect of watching matches at work.

Some good news regarding England’s matches

If your social enterprise operates traditional 9-5 office working hours, you’re unlikely to be troubled too much by England’s games.

Due to the way the games have been drawn, England will only be playing at the weekend or at 7PM in the evening – even if they make it all the way to the final. You’re therefore unlikely to have to down tools during the day to catch Gareth Southgate’s team in action.

But what if we operate during the England games?

Firstly, you’ll need a TV licence to show the games at your premises, but it’s also important to assess whether or not you have the time available to effectively wind down the business for 90 minutes.

Another challenge is that not everyone will want to watch the game, and those who would rather get on with their work might feel slightly aggrieved if others are given carte blanche to take some free time off.

If you decide to show the games at work, make it fair by enabling everyone to take that time off, but on the proviso that the hours are put in elsewhere (for instance, no lunch breaks, or some overtime).

Providing those 90 minutes won’t impact your service delivery, you might even find that the people who aren’t bothered get involved too, turning what might otherwise be a contentious issue into a great bit of team building.

Relax your rules about taking leave

An easy win when it comes to accommodating staff requests to watch the football is to relax your rules about how and when people can book leave.

If you remove all notice restrictions during the World Cup, it’ll enable people to take the day off at short notice in order to enjoy the game in the comfort of their own home or the local pub.

What about watching it on the internet?

There’s no escaping the fact that you can watch the entire World Cup online, therefore sneaky employees can always grab some game time either on their computer or smartphone while at work.

Your internet policy should still apply during the World Cup, but if you’re comfortable relaxing it a little while reminding staff that they still need to put their hours in if they take time out to watch games – go for it. Breaking rules becomes less of an issue if you get there first, after all!

How to win the World Cup war as a social entrepreneur

There’s a thread running through all of our advice in this post, and that’s to be honest, fair and willing to relax the rules a little when it comes to allowing staff to watch the World Cup at work.

Games only last 90 minutes, and England will only play a maximum of seven matches if they make it all the way. And, let’s be honest – that’s probably unlikely!

The biggest takeaway, however, is that the World Cup can really bring your workforce together – even for those who aren’t that fussed about the beautiful game. Let them watch it, but work on a mutual agreement that the work will be put in elsewhere to make up for the time lost during the match. It’s pretty simple, really!

You can find England’s schedule by clicking here