This week finally sees the 2016 Olympics get underway in Rio, after what seems like months of increasingly critical headlines questioning the readiness of the host nation and its ability to successfully stage ‘the greatest show on Earth’.
Whether such speculation will ultimately prove to be justified remains to be seen, however, these myriad headlines have almost certainly guaranteed that, when the curtain lifts on the opening ceremony, all eyes will be on Brazil.
Earlier this year, we took an in-depth look at the lessons HR and reward professionals could learn from sporting professionals. And, as the Olympics gets underway, the competition presents further opportunities for employers to boost staff motivation and engagement in the workplace.
Last week, for example, research by law firm Peninsula found that more than half of temployee respondents would like employers to offer greater flexibility during major sporting competitions, allowing them to start late, leave early or swap shifts with colleagues in order to enable them to watch the event. And it seems that not doing so could have ramifications for organisations, with 24% of respondents saying that a lack of flexibility would encourage them to call in sick in order to watch sporting events.
With the four-hour time difference between the UK and Brazil meaning many popular Olympic events will be screened in the early hours of the morning, providing some flexibility around working hours could go a long way towards generating goodwill among employees. And ensure that they don’t arrive far too tired to work the next morning.
Back in June, a survey of HR directors by recruitment firm Robert Half found that 73% of respondents believe employees are likely to call in sick or make an excuse to skip work the morning after a major sporting event. This may be why 88% say there are advantages of using such events to engage staff.
As well as the benefits associated with making it easier for employees to watch the event, the camaraderie created by individuals coming together to support their national athletes and team can also have a positive impact on working relationships.
I’m off to see what I can negotiate in order to watch the athletics…