The World Cup is coming up. There’s good and bad news for personnel departments.

Reality check: HR pros dread major sporting fixtures because they create hard-to-manage spikes in holiday requests and absenteeism. That dread is intensified when the event coincides with other disruptions.

So it’s good news that World Cup 2022 won’t begin until November. If it had been scheduled for this summer, we’d have had a car crash: the Platinum Jubilee, the World Cup, and then the July holiday season. Cue sighs of relief…and prayers of thanks to FIFA, who made winter play a condition of sending the games to the small, hot nation of Qatar.

The bad news is that you’re going to have to deal with The Cup, and then Christmas, in rapid succession.

How do HR pros cope with the World Cup and other sporting fixtures? Here’s our primer.

Keep a lookout

A good human resources team needs to anticipate upcoming staff supply crunches. Any sufficiently large event will cause shortages across the board. Forewarned is forearmed.

Know your squad

So, something big is coming up, and you need to make sure you’ve got cover. At times like this, internal reports are your ally. How many people were off last time the event was held? Who gave up their free time when needed? Who was stricken by a Mysterious Lurgi on the day of the Final? (HINT: software like LeavePlanner makes it much easier to keep tabs.)

Play fair

If an upcoming event has you anticipating more leave requests than you can handle, be honest about the problems you’re experiencing. Sports fans appreciate fair play, after all. Maybe you could compromise by letting people watch the event in the office?

Raise awareness

While there will always be a minority of staff who will try to ‘pull a sickie’, most people are sufficiently grown-up to recognise the impact of unplanned absenteeism, especially if you take time to explain your problems. Raising awareness will encourage that majority to book their leave well in advance.

Follow through

Just as there are regular offenders on the football pitch, every workplace has its ‘frequent absentees’. Once you’ve identified these individuals, consider putting a ‘return to work’ process in place. Staff will think twice about ‘pulling a sickie’ if they know that they’ll need to fill in a form and complete an interview before going they can go back to their desks.

Stay flexible

Are you offering flexible working hours? By allowing employees to start or finish earlier, or to swap shifts, you’ll reduce the incidence of ‘sickies’…and the impact of absence.

There’s no doubt that the last couple of years have seen personnel departments working harder than usual to maintain staffing levels. LeavePlanner’s software makes managing absence easy. Call us today to arrange your 30-day free trial.

For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email