East Midlands bosses tackle World Cup dilemma


It’s game on as nearly 40 per cent of East Midlands bosses say they will accommodate flexi-time requests to allow rugby-keen employees to enjoy the up-and-coming World Cup.

The 2011 Rugby World Cup takes place from September 9 to October 23 and with all four home nations competing in New Zealand, interest in the competition is expected to be high.

However 87per cent, or about nine in ten of UK bosses do not believe it will have a knock on effect on staff productivity, with a third prepared to operate flexi-hours and 18per cent allowing staff to watch matches on the TV or listen to them on the radio at work.

Employers in Scotland and Northern Ireland appear to be less flexible than their English counterparts.

The statistics are drawn from the latest Business Barometer, which is independently commissioned and published by Close Invoice Finance on a quarterly basis.

Percentage of employers that will accommodate flexi-time requests for World Cup:

UK average


North East


North West




East Midlands


West Midlands


East Anglia


Greater London


South East England


South West England




Northern Ireland


Commenting on the findings, Ian Steward, local head of Close Invoice Finance said: “With matches due to be shown in the early hours of the morning and at start of the working day, bosses would be forgiven for worrying about distracted or tired staff.

“However, it seems companies are taking a proactive approach to handling big sporting events, allowing staff to come in a little later or finish earlier.

“Conditions out there are tough and keeping your staff motivated, whether through flexible working hours or other methods, could be the difference between success and failure.”

The survey also showed that 70per cent of company owners trust their employees to ‘work mobile’ as long as work is completed and there is a clear need for them to be out of the office.

Mr Steward added: “Maintaining staff productivity levels in tough times is crucial for the survival of businesses.

“Getting the most out of your staff can mean the difference between survival or failure for many SMEs and the introduction of flexible working is one way companies can make sure their staff are engaged and motivated.

“The nature of the working day is evolving as employers reassess the structure of working hours and what gets the business and the individual the best results.

“Employers recognise that those who have the best work-life balance – whatever that is for them – give the best back to the company.”

The results of the Barometer correlate with the views of the Chartered Institute of Personnel (CIPD) which, in their response to a recent government consultation, stated that flexible working arrangements can play a vital role in organisational performance, supporting improved individual and business performance, through greater diversity and increased levels of engagement and commitment from workers at all levels. 

The Business Barometer is a quarterly survey of more than 500 companies from across the UK, designed to gauge SME owner/manager sentiment on a range of issues affecting their business.