Firms allowing employees to watch major sporting events

Does your company allow employees to enjoy major sporting events and if so, what do they allow them to do?

Major sporting events can pose a tricky problem for employers. Whether it’s the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Olympic Games, many of us don’t want to miss out on the action. So what to do when these events clash with working hours?

Watching sports in the office

After the London Olympic Games, The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) canvassed more than 1,000 managers to find out how organisations were impacted by the Games and concluded that actually, as a whole, they had a positive impact on the workplace as well as increased staff morale and productivity.

In fact, the research suggested that two-fifths (41%) of employers allowed their employees to watch the London Olympics at the office and of these, over a third (37%) said the Games boosted productivity, whilst 79% said their jobs weren’t affected.

Whilst Olympic fever grips the nation over the next two weeks, here is our quick and handy guide to ensure that both you and your employees are playing for the same team:

Work together

Think through how accommodating you can afford to be and clearly lay out the ground rules so that everybody is clear. Being respectful towards those who are uninterested in sports will also go a long way, by making sure that all staff are considerate to one another whilst at work.

Annual leave

Leave requests should be fairly distributed amongst employees and it should be clear that not everyone will always be able to take off exactly what they want all of the time – although you’ll always do your best. Your company could adopt a ‘first come first served’ policy to encourage forward planning. While this may not work perfectly during sporting events, it should help to avoid too much disappointment if you can’t fulfil everyone’s requests.


Allowing staff to start or finish earlier than their shift could be a solution for some staff. Putting a television in a meeting room and allowing staff to watch it on their breaks could be helpful and could also prevent staff from spending too much time watching sports on their mobile phones or online which could impact productivity.

As an employer, it’s a fine line to allow your staff the flexibility to enjoy sporting events without compromising the priorities of your business.

Each company will take a slightly different approach, but being clear about expectations will ensure that employees feel they are being treated fairly and reasonably.


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