The season of sport is upon us: between the World Cup, Wimbledon and golf there is plenty to choose from. Whether you love or hate it, your workplace is guaranteed to be filled with a sports buzz.
Even though this brings an exciting atmosphere, it can also mean reduced productivity, an increase in ‘sick days’ and overly competitive behaviour. However, here are some ways to maintain employee motivation throughout the period:
Stay up to date with sporting events which may impact your team’s productivity. Keeping a calendar will help you establish which events are likely to have an influence on your employees and put a plan into place on how to ensure tasks are completed to deadline.
If too many staff members are taking annual leave on the same date, make a compromise. Allow everyone to watch the match from the comfort of the office. Inform staff well in advance of targets that need to be hit prior to the game starting, before the influx of holiday emails start rolling in.
Don’t just notify employees of watching sport in the office, be clear about any changes to the workplace during matches. Reinforce any expectations you have during this period, for example: watching a football match shouldn’t decrease productivity and deadlines and daily tasks stay the same.
Not all team members will be interested in sports, offer them another perk while the match is on. This could be an extra coffee break or an early finish. The non-sporty team members will appreciate the recognition which, in turn, will increase their motivation.
Compromising is an efficient way to maintain productivity, however, make sure that employees don’t take advantage. Keep check that work is being completed on time and at a high standard. Record any ‘sick days’ taken and ask for a doctor’s note as proof when the employee returns to work.
Organise a meeting to remind staff of the consequences of taking ‘sickies,’ how it can disrupt workflow and may result in missed deadlines. Raising awareness will make them think twice before taking a ‘sick day’ conveniently on the same day of a big match.
Organise some post-work drinks for matches after office hours as this is a good opportunity for team-bonding. Activities such as theme days or placing bets are effective ways to build working relationships. For example, give each employee a team and whoever has the winning team is given a prize.
Make sure workers keep the sports banter light-hearted, as some may overstep the mark by making offensive comments. Not only will this prevent any team-bonding but will create a tense working atmosphere. Any inappropriate behaviour should be dealt with through the company’s disciplinary process.
Use the sport season to encourage fitness. Organise sports days or challenges throughout the summer and offer incentives to the winners. Don’t stop at day events, start offering lunch time exercise classes, gym vouchers and healthy refreshments to enhance employee wellness.
Use this time to connect with your employees. Creating a fun working environment will keep them loyal and maintain motivation. However, make sure to not get too swept up in the sporting action by checking everything is kept running smoothly in the office.
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