productivity during sportWith Wimbledon underway, and other major sporting activities on the horizon, we know that the office can go into slight meltdown when crucial games are on. How do you keep your teams productive and engaged?

1. Keep the liquid lunches from flowing too freely

Depending on your company’s stance on alcohol (somewhere between ‘none’ and ‘the pub is a meeting room’, you may want to review it when big sports events are on.

It’s expected that some colleagues might want to go down the pub during work lunch breaks, and enjoy the live sports over a pint or two, but you don’t want them rolling back into the office under the influence.

Remind teams of the company policy, gently underscoring the consequences for having one too many during work hours.

2. Offer flexible working days

With many big matches being televised during peak afternoons or early evenings, test out flexible working hours. Team members can opt to work remotely, or choose to finish early or later in a shift system that extends beyond the regular 9-5 (e.g. 7-3, 8-4 or 10-6).

As long as it works for individual teams and targets are hit, the business needn’t miss out.

3. Highlight any leftover annual leave

Keep any *ahem* unauthorised absences to a minimum with a healthy compromise over flexible working days and annual leave.

It could be worth taking a ‘first come first served’ temporary approach, with clear guidelines and protocols, for taking time off during major sporting events. Of course, this comes with the caveat that they may not always get the time off they want if others want the same annual leave at the same time.

4. Make a spectator sport of it

To mitigate against everyone pretending not to be watching and discussing events online (and getting nothing done), set up a TV in a meeting room with some snacks. That way, you ring-fence a specific time and place, and boost your team’s morale by bringing them together for something fun. Those who wish to skip the game can beaver away quietly.

As for the web, share out some clear guidelines on web use, and highlight what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

The workplace relations Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) highlights the need for best practice and clear guidelines around annual leave requests, ‘sickies’ and non-work web browsing. Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber underlines this by saying that “employers should have a set of agreements before kick-off to help ensure their businesses remain productive while keeping staff happy too”.