August 24, 2015

10 ideas to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in the workplace

Just over 40% of the UK workforce intend to tune into this year’s Rugby World Cup during work hours, but only 5.8% of them have booked time off. Plus one in seven people plan to call in sick, according to a survey by jobsite, CV-Library. What does this mean for HR?

It’s well known that sickness and absenteeism rates rise significantly during major sporting events, whether it’s because employees take time off to watch matches or are recovering from drinking and staying up late the night before

Rather than clamp down on staff, why not embrace the tournament and offer some fun rugby-themed events to celebrate it? The UK workforce certainly prefer this approach – 61.7% of those polled by CV-Library think businesses should support sporting events, with 81.8% saying it’s a good bonding experience, regardless of whether they enjoy the chosen sport or not.

HR needs to consider how to best manage the event – how to enable employees to watch the tournament while minimising disruption to the business. It would also do well to think of how to use the tournament to foster a great sense of community spirit and workplace fun and bond teams together.

Here are our top 10 ways to bring the 2015 Rugby World Cup into the workplace:

1. Broadcast matches at work. Be practical about this – if matches are on, a lot of people are going to want to watch them. Consider giving them a dedicated space and time to do it and they will thank you for it.
2. Offer flexi time. If there’s a big match one night and particularly if England is playing, perhaps let employees come into work an hour late, provided they stay an hour late. Or if it’s a mid-afternoon match, let them take their lunch hour late so that they can watch it.
3. Sweepstake. Always a good source of office banter.
4. Canteen-themed days. Have days when the canteen offers food from a nation participating in the tournament that day.
5. Run rugby fitness sessions. We all know the perils of not doing enough exercise. Encourage staff to get active with some rugby fitness sessions, as run by a professional of course.
6. Employee profiles. Ask employees who are rugby enthusiasts to step forward and be interviewed. Profile them on the company Intranet, magazine, in podcasts, etc.
7. Charity rugby match. Organise a charity match with your local rugby team, with the proceeds going to the company charity.
8. Quiz night. Do a team-building, fun quiz night. Make it rugby-related but not just about rugby – questions about participating nations, for example.
9. Local rugby match. Arrange an employee trip to a local rugby match. Consider offering it as a freebie or at least discounted price.
10. Ask employees. Tell employees what you’re thinking of doing to celebrate the tournament at work and ask them for their suggestions.

*The quadrennial World Cup is hosted by England this year and runs from September 18 – October 31. Find out more at: