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Productivity will be an issue during the World Cup: Experts

40 per cent of World Cup viewers intend to stay up late to watch matches before carrying on with work, according to a survey by recruitment agency eFinancialCareers. 

SINGAPORE: The upcoming FIFA World Cup could drain companies' resources, warned human resource experts. 

According to a survey by recruitment agency eFinancialCareers, nearly 40 per cent of those interested in the football tournament intend to stay up for the games, before carrying on to work. Survey respondents included some 140 finance professionals who visited the agency's Singapore website.

HR experts say productivity will be an issue. The key, however, would be to engage staff rather than to enforce restrictions. 

"If you do have a certain section of your workforce that are determined to do that, it's really about trying to accommodate them as much as you can. So obviously flexible working is one option.

"Another option would be to really get involved, allow them to wear their football kit to work, run some competitions perhaps, and really try to get involved. Use it as a way of improving morale," said eFinancialCareers Asia Pacific Marketing Head Neil Clark.

One-third of survey respondents said they would be contented catching the match highlights. A similar number indicated that would either call in sick or take leave.

"You could allow people to come in slightly later in the day, that should mitigate that. We do know from previous research that approximately 25 per cent of people who work in finance in Singapore are shift workers anyway. So there is a degree of flexibility," Clark said.

However, HR experts warn that this poses another challenge, as such a level of flexibility only applies to certain kinds of jobs, such as public relations. 

"We are quite used to the late nights. Currently we are working on the Thomas and Uber Cups for the Singapore badminton team, so matches can last till 1am or 2am. And we're all football fans, staying up late till 3am even, for games," said Merliza Lim, Director of public relations agency CROWD.

During the World Cup, at least two staff members will serve each of the company's clients. This ensures that operations go on as per normal.

Experts say this could be a means to enhanced staff loyalty in the longer-term.

For example, besides flexible working hours, staff at CROWD will also be allowed to take naps if necessary. There's also an office sweepstakes, where staff choose the team they think will win the World Cup. The winner gets free meals from everybody else who joined the pool.

Said Ms Lim: "Happy staff equals better productivity, and also increased loyalty. Not only for the company, but also for the brands we promote."

The World Cup kicks off on June 12, with the final whistle to be blown on July 13.

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