Small Business Advice | Managing the impact of South Africa 2010

When the first World Cup match between host nation South Africa and Mexico kicks off on Friday, businesses up and down the country will be worried about more than just the results achieved on a pitch in South Africa as football fever kicks in (pun entirely intended). In fact, a more pressing concern for most business owners will be ensuring the attention of their staff is focused on work as well as play. Striking a balance between maintaining a happy workforce and guaranteeing uninterrupted results is an unenviable task and one which may have decision makers across the UK scratching their heads.

world cup

One of the key steps to implementing an effective working programme is getting both the policy and technology right. By sitting down and devising a clear strategy for staff during the World Cup the stress in the long run will be greatly reduced.  


In the first instance you’ll need to think about which line you wish to toe. Be sure to draw up a strategy that best suits the individual needs of your business. If the running of your organisation is built on frequent and tight deadlines or requires stringent attention to detail then this needs to be considered. To avoid schedule clashes, missed deadlines or overlapping holidays you may want to design a rota which can be displayed on the staff notice board or intranet.

If you are concerned about the potential distraction caused by live streamed games, blogs and up to the second team updates then limit the number of sites that staff can access. Draw up a list of accepted sites and set your firewall and security settings to reflect this. Make sure your list of approved sites is communicated to staff so that they are clear on what they can and cannot access.

You may consider allowing flexible working during the World Cup but if you do, make sure you have the right tools in place to support it. If you are planning or allowing time out of the office to watch matches then make certain staff are still easily reached via mobile devices. If a match is being shown in the office make sure there remains a safe space for quiet business and calls to be conducted as necessary.

It’s also worth setting aside time after the first few matches to assess how effective the policy has been so far. The aim is to create an environment that best serves your business, so don’t be afraid to make a few tweaks to the original plan.

So with your policy in place and your staff well briefed all that’s left to worry about is Capello’s boys getting to the final!


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