British firms fear World Cup ‘distraction’

2010-06-08 11:05

The 2010 Fifa World Cup could cost British businesses a fortune in

lost production as employees take time off and waste time nattering about the

tournament, a managers’ body has said.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said the competition in

South Africa could cost up to one billion pounds (about R11.2 billion) in lost

production in Britain.

CMI said more than half the 700 bosses they surveyed were

“panicking“, fearing that “endless” conversations about football would divert

employees’ attention from their jobs.

They were also worried that workers would take unauthorised time

off to watch matches on television.

CMI chief executive Ruth Spellman said: “It’s greatly concerning

that so many managers have fears around the World Cup. They clearly feel

ill-equipped to develop appropriate strategies to cope with the problems

associated with major sporting events.

“The fact that more than half of our managers and leaders think

that there is nothing they can do to prevent the World Cup from distracting

staff or to limit unauthorised absences amplifies the desperate need for

improved standards of management and leadership.”

She added: “The World Cup should not negatively impact business

performance. In fact, leaders could be missing a trick by dwelling on fears of

coping with empty offices.

“We’re convinced it offers some fantastic opportunities to address

some of the issues which have plagued UK organisations since the downturn struck

– things like waning morale, insecurity and a lack of engagement.”

The World Cup kicks off on Friday when hosts South Africa take on

Mexico in Johannesburg.


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