IN offices across Burton and South Derbyshire on Tuesday, June 24, there are likely to be a few anxious glances at watches as it draws closer to 5pm.
Football fans are either likely to be rushing home for England’s potentially crucial final World Cup group game against Costa Rica or loosening the tie and resigning themselves to finding a spot to watch the game at work. That is of course unless the boss decides to let them clock off early.
That is what is being suggested by business chiefs in Burton as a way of keeping morale high in the workplace during the World Cup.
Other than a few bleary eyes, the Three Lions’ opening game of the tournament against Italy on Saturday is unlikely to cause too many problems, apart from those working a Sunday shift, while the next game against Uruguay has a manageable 8pm start time.
But is the final group game – which in all likelihood will decide whether or not England progress in the tournament - where bosses are being asked to cut workers some slack.
If England manage to successfully negotiate the group stage, matches in the round of 16 and quarter-finals also kick off at 5pm - leading to more dilemmas for those in charge.
Chris Plant, director of the Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, advised firms to consider allowing staff to get off early for the football and make up the time elsewhere.
He also predicted bosses could expect to hear the gravelly voices of some workers calling in sick.
Mr Plant said: “It’s a great chance for people to enjoy the World Cup in a nice atmosphere, not only for traditional football fans but for people who want to support England on the big stage
“There may be a downside for businesses, however, with the possibility of a spike in unauthorised absences during the competition.
“As employees of all nationalities look to catch their favourite team in action.
“The Chamber’s advice to businesses would be to put a clear policy in place which would allow a bit of flexibility on both sides, so employees have the opportunity to watch the games and make up any working time lost as appropriate.”