Some of the 335 FDs surveyed were motivated by their own passion for the game.
One anonymous finance chief – among the 42% who said they would be allowing staff time to watch the matches Ñ explained that he and colleagues would be going to the local sports centre to watch them and that the office would literally be flying the England flag.
Ashley Bliss, FD at Fox Murphy in Norwich, was enthusiastic about his company’s provision for footie fans. ‘A large screen will be available in the boardroom along with beer and sandwiches. It’s important to keep the staff happy,’ he said.
Some respondents were more pragmatic. Doug Stoker, FD at Schroff UK, said: ‘It makes sense to be flexible at such an important time.’
Others said that a blanket ban would be counterproductive and that staff could watch matches as long as they made up the time.
Many respondents explained that protocols were in place to cope with fluctuating attention spans during games: flexitime is a popular solution as is a donation from staff to charity in exchange for time out for match watching.
However, a third of those surveyed took a firmer line. Some 33% answered ‘definitely not’. ‘Business must come first,’ said one, while another commented that the current economic climate meant time off for matches would not be practical.
Others were concerned about opening the floodgates. John Buckley, FD of Sauter Automation, said: ‘For most matches, staff can take days off. Otherwise they could ‘flex’ time and make it up.
‘But giving time off sets a dangerous precedent, as staff who want to watch other sports, like Wimbledon, may argue there is discrimination in favour of football fans.’
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