Manufacturers wary of World Cup worker woes

Posted on 1 May 2014 by Callum Bentley

A new report of manufacturing SMEs has signalled their concern over worker commitment during the 2014 Football World Cup.

  • 21% of manufacturers worried about staff absenteeism
  • 44% of bosses expect to receive special requests for annual leave
  • 59% of bosses willing to consider flexible working hours

ALMOST half (46%) of SME owners and managers in the manufacturing industry are concerned that the World Cup will have a negative impact on their business, a recent survey has revealed.

Of this figure, 21% are worried about increased staff absenteeism and a further quarter are concerned they will see a drop in productivity during the football tournament this summer.

The statistics are drawn from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management that aims to gauge sentiment on a number of key issues.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Gee, managing director of the manufacturing division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “With the competition taking place in Brazil this year, many of the matches will be televised late at night in the UK and as a result, some fans may be tempted to take unauthorised absences.

“The relaxed licensing laws for England games will allow bars to stay open later and this will have an impact felt by small businesses, as major sporting events have an unparalleled ability to distract both employees and clients,” he added.

The survey further revealed that 44% of manufacturing bosses expect to receive special requests for annual leave, but found that 59% would be willing to accommodate flexible working hours or shift changes to allow staff to watch games.

Mr Gee added: “The tournament is a celebrated global event but it’s understandable that many manufacturing firms are concerned as it comes at a time when many are just starting to experience growth.

“Businesses in the sector need to take steps to protect themselves. It is promising to see that many are already prepared to introduce flexible working hours, but likewise it is important to recognise how business owners can use the tournament to benefit their business.”