For small businesses across America, the next month may see an uptick in absenteeism from the office. This time, the reason isn't the start of the summer vacation season—it's the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Starting Friday, June 11, and running through July 11, the World Cup will be taking workers away from their computers and workstations, and towards their televisions. And while you might have missed the opportunity to link up with the world's biggest sporting event through a sponsorship, like Adidas and Emirates, there's still hope to get your business involved in the event, rather than only have your staff leaving for it.
The World Cup presents an excellent opportunity for advertising tie-ins for almost any small business around the world. With a burgeoning fan base in America, soccer targets mostly young, American males in the U.S. As a key demographic for many businesses, you should be considering how you can link your advertising or promotions, whether local or national, to the sport over the next month.
Games for the World Cup will start very early, some at 7 a.m. EST in the morning. Each day's games will run through the afternoon, nearly to closing time, around 5 p.m. EST. This gives businesses an unique opportunity to boost camaraderie among staff.
Instead of making staff leave as individuals to watch the game, why not bring them together through planned events? As most staff will be backing the U.S., you could plan a company outing around the match, perhaps even bringing along interns who have not yet had a chance to meet all the company's employees. This could be done in the office, on the cheap, with snacks, chairs, and a television, or at an event outside at a bar or a restaurant.
Also, it's likely many staff will be supporting their country of heritage (or an adopted one) in the tournament. Businesses should consider ways of allowing workers to support those teams and express their cultures. Examples of this could be a "soccer shirt Friday"—a style event, centered around a big game, where staff members are encouraged to bring in food items from their home countries and, of course, wear their soccer jerseys of choice.
The final step, if you're willing to take it, would be allow workers to watch all the games at the office. This has obvious detriments, but could be beneficial. Instead of having one person run out to watch match every few hours, only to return later after transit time, you can have them on site just in case something happens. Also, workers could watch the games on the desktop PCs, accomplishing work while viewing the games. This may not be a perfect scenario, but it will at least keep workers in the seats.
Whatever you choose to do, you should try to be understanding of your employees' enthusiasm for this major global event, and have at least a little bit of fun with it.