World Cup Fever: Asda Employees Get Extra Time to Watch Matches

Last Updated May 19, 2010 12:17 PM EDT

While some bosses have already begun treating their workers with suspicion, warning them of the consequences of taking sick leave during the event, other employers are embracing the tournament with open arms.

Building supplies retailer Screwfix, owned by Kingfisher, announced plans to switch its stores' opening hours to British Football Time -- opening the stores at 6am -- on days when England matches are being played.

A drive-thru style collection system is even being implemented to lighten the load early on in the day, as the company experienced a surge of customers at the beginning of the day, while matches were being played in the Germany 2006 World Cup.

"We're supporting football fans all the way and we would encourage other businesses to take our lead and change their hours to suit," said John Mewett, Screwfix Marketing Director in a statement.

It's clear Screwfix is embracing the event, even in its social media marketing efforts, even though it could be detrimental to sales. An awful lot of DIY enthusiasts are going to be downing tools to watch the matches.

Supermarket giant ASDA is also getting into the spirit of the tournament and offering its employees up to two weeks of unpaid leave across the length of the World Cup, as well as shift-swapping schemes.

ASDA's flexible approach towards major sporting events helped to keep absenteeism to a minimum during the previous two World Cup events.

If your boss won't even consider letting you watch England matches, it might might help your case to let them know how other countries are treating the event: Argentina is airing the matches in schools to help curb truancy, and is also producing tailored learning materials for the children to read before the matches.

Regardless of whether management likes it or not, the World Cup is going to have an impact on staffing levels in the next few weeks. One in four workers is expected to repeatedly call in sick during the event.

What are your strategies for persuading your employees not to stray from work over the tournament? Write in a coment below.

(Picture: warrenski, CC2.0)