With just a month to go until this year's Football World Cup, bosses are being urged to work out their game-plan in advance with staff in order to maintain morale high, protect productivity and ensure absence levels do not suddenly soar.
Workplace body Investors in People has called on managers to invest time now in talking openly with staff about their plans and how they are going to manage attendance and productivity during the tournament, which kicks off on June 9.
They are being urged to work how best to balance different staff needs – vital to avoid resource issues or staff resentment caused by last minute holiday bids or team members leaving early to catch the start of the matches.
By encouraging staff to be open about their plans, bosses can take control of the situation and ensure that no employees are left in the lurch when the whistle blows, according to Nicola Maine, director of Investors in People.
"Staff resourcing is always an issue during major sporting tournaments, but some employers still seem to get taken by surprise," she said.
"Managers need to talk openly with their staff in advance, understand their plans and aim to strike a balance between maintaining business as usual whilst also recognising that some employees will be struck by World Cup fever," she added.
"Obviously different approaches will suit different organisations, but being upfront with staff and involving them in planning ahead should be a priority for all.
"The World Cup presents a fantastic opportunity to motivate staff if approached in the right way. The key is to take action now. By doing so – and ensuring everyone knows in advance what arrangements will be made – managers are more likely to keep staff motivated, retain control of the situation and keep their organisation's productivity on track," she recommended.
Investors in People has drawn up a list of "top tips" for managing staff during the World Cup.
These include setting aside a "team talk" to find out what staff plan to do – you can then make an informed decision about managing your resources.
Offering staff flexible working options so they can make up time earlier or later in their day or shift can also be a good idea.
Creating a rota for finishing early, so everyone knows they will get their chance to watch matches can be another popular move.
It may also be wise to provide a television screen and extend break times while matches are taking place, said Investors in People, employees can then make up time earlier or later in their day or shift.
If appropriate for your organisation, you might want to allow employees to bring in radios to listen to the games.
It is worth remembering, too, that not all employees will be die-hard football fans – so it is important to ensure that you consult with all staff to ensure that non-supporters stay motivated too, said Investors in People.