World Cup Absenteeism

Paul Clark, Director for the UK and Ireland, Plantronics says, “According to the Financial Times and a survey conducted by the CBI, business groups have been warned to brace themselves for a rise in absenteeism during the world cup. Last year the British economy lost 27 million working days as a result of bogus “sickies”, costing £2.5 billion. With the World Cup set to start this Friday, and given how passionate fans in the UK are about ‘the beautiful game’, I expect this number will increase significantly.

Many businesses have already equipped staff with technologies that support flexible working such as, unified communications, lap tops, mobile phones and headsets, enabling employees to work flexibly, and minimise the impact the World Cup might have to their business as a result of absenteeism. In the majority of cases where “sickies” are taken, a few hours leeway would usually avoid the “sickie” being taken in the first place. However without the flexibility, employees are prepared to sacrifice an entire work day to satisfy their need to do something which will in reality only take a couple of hours, be it to have a lay-in after a ‘heavy’ night, waiting for a package to be delivered to their home, or just wanting a couple of hours out of the day to support their country in the World Cup.

At Plantronics we have equipped 95 % of our staff with flexible working technology, which will greatly reduced the affect the World Cup will have on our business. However, there are still many who have not; and when considering the precarious financial situations many businesses find themselves in after the recent global economic crisis, their decision to not satisfy their employees desires to watch their country play in the world cup, is not helping their profitability or their recovery.”

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