Preparing Your Business for a Summer of Sport

News, Productivity,

As the summer (hopefully!) approaches, small business owners across the UK are facing a season filled with exciting sporting events. Whilst the highest profile events are those around UEFA Euro 2024, which kicked off on 14th June, Wimbledon starts on the 1st of July and the Olympics in Paris on the 26th July. There’s no doubt that these events will capture the nation’s attention, particularly if our representatives do well, and, as we’ve seen before, success in one event will inflate interest in others.

While this protracted sports season presents an opportunity for team-building and boosting morale, it also poses challenges in managing productivity and employee attendance. 

Here’s how you can get the most from the excitement, and limit any negative impact…:

Balancing holiday requests

The anticipation of summer sports often leads to a surge in holiday requests. As a business owner, it’s crucial to balance these requests with the operational needs of your business. Remember, you have the right to approve or decline holiday requests and dictate when leave can be taken. However, fairness is key. Ensure that decisions are made without bias towards any nationality, and consider the well-being benefits of allowing staff to take their much-needed breaks during this period.

Managing on-premised viewing

Sporting events can be a source of distraction, but they also offer a chance to foster camaraderie. If you decide to allow employees to watch or listen to games during work hours, implement this inclusively.

  • Avoid limiting access to only home nation events to prevent potential discrimination issues.
  • Consider flexible working arrangements, such as adjusting start and finish times or coordinating breaks around key matches.
  • Additionally, ensure you have the necessary licenses to broadcast events in the workplace.

Addressing unexpected absences

Major sports events can lead to a spike in unexpected absences. To mitigate this, communicate clearly with your team about attendance expectations.

Monitoring attendance and being transparent about the consequences of unauthorised absences, which can lead to disciplinary action, will help deter such behaviour.

Navigating extended hours and staffing

In the event that England or Scotland reach the UEFA Euro 2024 semi-finals, scheduled for the 9th and 10th July, the government has granted premises in England and Wales the ability to extend their alcohol service hours by two hours past the usual 11pm cutoff. 

Though we don’t have many clients it would apply to directly, this extension could well affect staffing requirements for most clients on the following days!

If you are directly affected by extended hours, it’s best to ask for volunteers to cover them, but if necessary, you may need to rely on contractual clauses, ensuring it’s reasonable to do so. Keep in mind the working time regulation that mandates an 11-hour rest period between shifts, which could impact your next day’s operations.

Embracing the fun!

While managing these logistical aspects is important, don’t forget to embrace the fun and excitement that these events bring!

Organize a sports-themed fun day with prizes, or let each department adopt a different sport or country, decorating their workspace accordingly. You could also consider a marathon of sports events following all of the major events and really embrace the sheer volume and range of activities! 

Such activities can significantly boost morale and foster a positive work environment.


The summer of sport presents both opportunities and challenges for small business owners. By preparing in advance and maintaining a fair, inclusive, and fun approach, you should be able to navigate this period effectively, ensuring your business continues to thrive while also enjoying the excitement of the sporting season. 

Consult your HR advisor if you’re concerned, keep the lines of communication open with your team, plan strategically, and most importantly, enjoy the games!

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