Euro 2016 and the Rio Olympics are set to grip sports fans across Britain this summer.
Add those events on top of the usual rugby tours, test match cricket, and Wimbledon, and if you’re a small business owner you could be left with a headache. Many fear working days will be disrupted by sport this summer and their enterprises will suffer.
So how do you make sure this sporting fever doesn’t hit your business?
Business owners are being advised to be flexible and organised.
Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber said: “The Euro 16 tournament is an exciting event for football fans but staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period.
“Employers should have a set of agreements before kick-off to help ensure their businesses remain productive while keeping staff happy too.”
See more from Acas here: https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5746
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If you can’t beat them, join them
As there’s a crunch Euro 2016 match in the middle of the day – Wales v England on June 16 – you could get a big screen TV in the office or back room of the shop and let as many staff as possible watch it provided they make up the time elsewhere.
It’s an hour and a half. Let them work later or come in earlier. Ask for volunteers who have no interest in football to man the phones or the shop counter and keep your business ticking over.
A little flexibility will go a long way as conciliation body Acas has pointed out – but make sure people know the workplace rules well in advance, and that business has to go on.
If multiple people want the day off, make the choice as fair as possible. Use first come, first served, or pull names out of a hat.
Everyone should be reminded of policies relating to sickness absence, too.
The Olympics is a little harder to plan for – it’s held over 16 days and no one knows who will make finals of events and whether British interest in sports like cycling, athletics, swimming, gymnastics, or boxing will impact on the working day. It also falls in the middle of school holiday season, when many workers wish to take their two-week breaks.
A little common sense goes a long way. If Andy Murray defends his Olympic singles title in a final, for example, operating the same system as for the football would be a great idea – provided your business will allow for it. If staff want to stop work for all of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s events over a number of days, that will probably not be possible.
The key is ensuring you’re still able to deliver your products on time, and that their quality isn’t affected.
If there’s a chance to get ahead with orders before big matches, take it.
With every challenge, there’s an opportunity
Don’t just see our summer of sport as a problem. It’s also an excellent marketing opportunity.
Large companies with sponsorship deals are making the most of their backing for UK sportsmen and women with promotions and TV adverts.
You might not have their budgets, but there’s nothing to stop local businesses showing their support for the UK nations in Euro 2016 or the British athletes at the Olympics with promotions, offers, and giveaways.
You can get involved on Twitter using the relevant hashtags like #Euro2016, upload pictures of your staff showing their support to Facebook and Instagram, and publish the results of customer competitions. You could also change your business’ social media headers to reflect results, and create memes or gifs to congratulate gold medallists.
Banners and leaflets are also relatively inexpensive ways of using sporting themes to push your business. Be careful, though, that you don’t infringe on any trademarks.
Your business can benefit from the buzz these events create.
Euro 2016 starts on June 10 and runs until July 10. The Rio Olympics begins on August 5 and closes on August 21.