Some sporting events are just too good to miss. The Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup, and the Kentucky Derby are among those likely to cause excitement, distraction and, potentially, absences from work. This can be disruptive to a work environment, but can also be the basis for team bonding or healthy competition. Depending on the industry you work in, events such as the Super Bowl may also form part of your creative campaigns.
3 Major Sporting Events You Should Have on Your Work Calendar
Having such events on your radar and working around them or with them, rather than against them, can promote fun and, ultimately, a more productive workplace. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Here are a few events you should be working into your HR calendar.
First, the big one. An estimated 16 million+ Americans have called in sick the day after the Super Bowl at least once in their lifetime. In the average workplace, one in ten people is expected to call in sick, with even more showing up late and tired. It is clear to see that there is a high probability of employee absence on the Monday following the Super Bowl. Star-studded Fox promos in 2020 encouraged viewers to call in sick, and comic sketches anticipate bosses’ responses to the suggestion of making Super Bowl Monday an ‘out of office’ company day.
However, forewarned is forearmed. You can take control of the situation by encouraging employees to book the day off in advance. Consider using a system where employees alternate years to take Super Bowl Monday off, or institute a late start, if feasible. This will depend on your policy regarding time off requests for exempt vs non-exempt employees. You could even create a charity auction, with employees bidding for later starts. This way, you can hopefully reduce the number of unauthorized absences and raise some money for a good cause.
Held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, The Kentucky Derby is America’s biggest horse race. Sometimes labeled ‘the greatest two minutes in sport’ it is the longest-running sports event in the US and attracts 150,000 people annually. Naturally, the race and build-up is broadcast, there are many opportunities for betting on the Kentucky Derby. Sportsbooks have long found success with bettors all over the world, particularly on account of their attractive bonuses. These are now gaining traction in the US too. Plus, the event dominates social media on the day. Happily, since it is always held on the first Saturday in May, it is also one of the major US sporting events which don’t typically disrupt office hours. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t take advantage of the anticipation to create a work bonding activity. If it is feasible, you could plan a company event at the Derby, either for all staff, or just senior managers. Perhaps you could even arrange corporate hospitality as a small bonus for your highest-performing employees? Alternatively, you could take on a few of the famously quirky Kentucky Derby traditions for some Friday afternoon work fun, such as serving Mint Juleps and wearing colorful hats, with nominal prizes given for the most creative efforts.
FIFA World Cup/Women’s World Cup
Although viewing figures are naturally higher when the US team are involved in the competition, millions of Americans do watch the FIFA World Cup. The American appetite for soccer has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades, and Americans love huge sporting events. Since the World Cup only takes place every four years, there is a huge sense of occasion attached to the tournament. While the men’s competition may be more spectacle than investment for most American soccer fans, the US Women’s team are the four times champions, including winning it in 2019. The tournament lasts around a month, with sometimes two matches a day broadcast around the globe. The problems occur when major matches are scheduled during office hours, causing workers to lose focus and surreptitiously stream games from their work computers. Tackle this by trying to ensure deadlines are met in advance and screen major matches as company events.
By knowing when major events that are likely to disrupt the status quo are coming up, you can plan more effectively. Make sure you include these sporting events (and any others you think are appropriate) in your yearly calendar, and you should be able to minimize disruption and maximize opportunities for team bonding.