5 Ways to Kick-Start Employee Engagement this World Cup

With the FIFA World Cup well underway, are you expecting to see a drop off in productivity?

The good news is that the global competition can actually really benefit your business. According to XpertHR, the World Cup offers employers a unique opportunity to give employee engagement and motivation rates a boot in the right direction.

Managing editor for pay and HR practice at XpertHR, Sheila Attwood says:

“Major events like the royal wedding and the World Cup are an open goal for employers looking to lift employee morale and motivation.

With the right mix of an event, employee interest and workplace arrangements, employers can unify employees and boost engagement levels by channelling and reflecting positive emotions generated by the event.”

While it’s not always feasible to buy a TV for the office, there are a number of alternative solutions to ensure your business capitalises over the next month.

Here are five of our best tips on how to enjoy the World Cup and keep your employees onside.

1. Flexible working times

Flexible working hours are a great benefit for you to offer throughout the year. This gives people an opportunity to balance their working and personal lives without either suffering.

But in terms of the world cup, have you considered giving employees the chance to have longer lunch breaks during certain games? Or letting them skip lunch so they can finish an hour earlier for the 16:00 kick-offs?

Within reason, these little perks can go a long way to show employees you trust them to get their work done and also that you care about their happiness!

However, a small warning:

While this particular perk is great, you will want to be wary that it doesn’t become a distraction.

And not just for those who choose to get involved! Staff members who aren’t interested in football may see these time periods as an excuse to slack off as there aren’t as many other people around.

It’s something you should keep an eye on and you may work out that the best way around this is to allow people to watch the football at work instead (see point 2).

Recruiter pro tip

If you are planning on just giving your employees a few hours off for any of England games, you may want to consider any potential diversity and discrimination issues this can cause.

Think about other employees in the business who may be supporting another nation. An open door policy would be best in this scenario to accommodate everyone.

2. Watch the games at work

An alternative would be to allow the entire team to watch some of the games together at work.

(You obviously wouldn’t want this for every match, but perhaps towards the end of the tournament).

This will give everyone a chance to get involved, bond with their co-workers and enjoy the football.

You may (or may not) want to put a rule in place that means everyone has to make up the time during lunch/ after work — but of course if you did, less people would get involved.

Depending on your workplace, the workforce and the hours, this could be a good or a bad thing!

3. Relaxed dress code

Introducing a relaxed dress code can really enable your employees to get into the spirit of the World Cup.

This can include wearing a football shirt with jeans, or even a full kit policy! This would no doubt create a few laughs and encourage a positive atmosphere.

Don’t forget those who haven’t got a football shirt or have no interest in the game. As an alternative, allow them to wear more casual clothes like a t-shirt, jeans and pumps.

4. Provide treats

Nothing says “you care” like a few naughty treats.

If you’re adopting a policy to let employees watch the games during work hours, make sure you stock up on snacks and refreshments.

If you’re feeling really jolly, a beer or glass of wine could really ramp up the feel-good factor across the office.

Or for the health-conscious, a variety of fresh fruits and nuts would successfully suffice.

5. Create special areas

My final point can apply all year round. Establishing a relaxed seating area for employees to enjoy during their break periods can help them unwind and recharge the batteries.

Adding beanbags, sofas, a football table and a range of other cool gadgets can be seen as a real benefit to most employees.

In regards to the World Cup, including more seats, a nice speaker system for the commentary and bunting with all the flags can play a pivotal part in creating a carnival atmosphere.

Having this kind of area within the workplace will also enable you to firmly establish a boundary between work and fun. Therefore, your employees will understand that as soon as they sit down at their desk or man their station, they are there to hit their quota for the day.

A work hard, play hard attitude if you like.


Overall, the FIFA World Cup is just one prime example of how you can create a dynamic and robust workplace which your employees love.

Whether it’s another sporting event or the Royal Wedding, a fun atmosphere is the key to keeping productivity rates up and staff turnover low.

The truth is; your employees will get distracted by any big event or talking point anyway. So instead of ignoring it, embrace it. Applying these five ideas will show a different side to the business and give employees an added incentive to work hard when the games aren’t on.

Recruiter pro tip

While this is a fun time and employee engagement will surge as a result of it, you need to ensure that the new relaxed atmosphere does not go too far.

Always address:

  • Any hostile or even racist remarks made while watching the games during work hours.
  • Those excessively streaming every game throughout the day, as this can run from midday right into the evening.
  • Employees who return from an extended lunch break intoxicated or in a disruptive mood.

You can find out more about how to deal with situations like this in our previous post: ‘6 Ways to Deal with Disruptive Employees’.

Because, unfortunately, there will sometimes be those bad eggs that spoil everything for everyone else.

You’ve just got to make sure that doesn’t happen!

If you’d like to read more about employee engagement, recruitment and leadership in general, feel free to check out our employer blog — here.

Are You Currently Recruiting?

If you’re currently looking to recruit some brilliant new people to join your team, we (Coburg Banks) would love to help.

Click here to find out a little bit more about us.




We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.

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Coburg Banks

Coburg Banks

We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.

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