Sports events prompt Kiwis to call in sick

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New Zealand is known as a nation of sports lovers but, according to one recent study, the seemingly harmless passion could actually be impacting your bottom line.

“Kiwis love their sport, especially when our teams are expected to do well, however it’s important to not let big sporting events disrupt employee performance,” said Megan Alexander, GM of Robert Half Asia Pacific.

Alexander’s warning comes after the company published revelatory research earlier this week. In the international study, an incredible 87 per cent of Kiwi HR managers said it is likely that at least one of their employees will call in sick the day after a major sporting event – 19 per cent described the occurrence as “very likely.”

The overwhelming figure means New Zealand shares the top spot with Australia, followed by Brazil (84 per cent), Chile (80 per cent), Austria (78 per cent), Germany (76 per cent) and Switzerland (75 per cent). The Netherlands is the country least likely to have their employees call in sick, at 61 per cent.

While the revelation may spark concern for HR professionals across the country, the study pointed to many organizations that were taking a proactive approach and embracing major events.

Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of New Zealand HR managers said hosting company events to watch major sporting competitions increases employee engagement, while 43 per cent insisted it had a positive effect on motivation levels. Almost a third (29 per cent) said such company events increase employee loyalty.

“While watching sports during business hours can impact a company’s workplace productivity, organisations increasingly understand the positive impact these activities have on staff morale,” says Alexander.

“Having an engaged and motivated workforce that recognises the importance of team spirit can have a significant influence on achieving company goals which ultimately improves a company’s bottom line,” she continued.

“Significant sporting competitions that are of national interest are also an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate why they are an employer of choice,” she added.

“Showing flexibility towards staff on special occasions, whether it is allowing staff to come in a bit later, taking a longer lunch break or leaving early, shows the business understands and appreciates its workforce.”

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