ACAS urge employers to offer flexible hours – so that employees can watch the RIO Olympics

The conciliation service has issued guidelines to offset perceived problems of absence to watch the events in RIO over the next month. These encourage businesses to consider flexible hours and shift swapping.

Using far too many excruciating clichés and metaphors, Chairman Sir Brendan Barber said:

“Rio 2016 will be an exciting event for many sports fans but staff should avoid getting disqualified for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period. Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive and sprint to that finish line. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before the starting gun goes off for the Olympic Games. These agreements can help ensure businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too, which are key ingredients for a gold medal winning team line up. Our guidance can help managers get the best from their team athletes by planning for potential hurdles, arranging team relay handovers if necessary and avoiding unnecessary false starts.”

When business output is at the weakest for years, is now really the time to be adding more burden on the economy by reducing productivity. Whilst some would say that it will avoid unplanned absence, I would suggest that if employees are more concerned about watching the games than their livelihood, then we really have a problem.

In these days of digital recording and catch up TV, do we really need a body like ACAS presenting this as though it should be a right?