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Is football more important than work?

15th Jun 2016
Partner An unnamed firm
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Football more important than work?
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Is it just me or does the idea of staff disappearing from work to watch football matches appal other readers too?

It sounds harsh perhaps, but the average accountant gets paid a ridiculous amount of money for doing what is admittedly a very valuable job. Compared doctors and nurses, though, we contribute relatively little to the good of society.

The average employment contract makes us work from 9 to 5 (adjust as necessary) while typically many will do more.

You and I know that there are occasions when this doesn’t work out as planned. If somebody works through the night one day, you might expect them to turn up late the next. We all know that those lunches celebrating somebody’s birthday or Christmas might also expand beyond the legally contracted hour-long lunch break.

That being said, I can’t believe that firms are being forced to come up with a “football” policy so that people can watch games when they should be working. They might strike occasionally, but you can’t imagine a doctor or nurse ducking out of an operation for a couple of hours to see if the boys can qualify for the knock-outs.

This might sound curmudgeonly but there is a deeper moral issue here. As you might have guessed, I don’t care much for football. But I do like other sports, as well as enjoying cultural activities. I don’t have the opportunity to enjoy daytime TV either.

Would it be unreasonable for me to request/demand that my firm creates a policy allowing me to watch Countdown (if it still exists) two or three times a week this summer?

Alternatively, perhaps they could set up a 65 inch TV screen with the Test Match playing for those that fancy some time out?

What happened to our good old Protestant work ethic? Surely the raison d’être of any self-respecting accountant is to service their clients and make their practice’s offering better than that of the opposition.

If that is the case, then it is time to ban football during office hours, except for those who want to take holidays.

You will already have guessed that if anybody fraudulently takes sick leave or attends the office drunk on my watch, rather than swapping anecdotes about Rooney or Rashford and that great winner, I will be giving them an opportunity to watch the rest of the competition without the tedious impediment of having to work.

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Francois
By Francois Badenhorst
15th Jun 2016 10:41

I'm going to have to be the annoying millennial, dear IA, and argue that work shouldn't come completely at the expense of our personal passions.

Football means a lot to many of my colleagues. (Although, not to me personally. Football's charms are largely lost on this Afrikaner.)

Showing the match on our office screen is a bit of camaraderie, people who don't usually speak to each other in the office can form an instantaneous bond. It's also a welcome injection of joie de vivre into the office.

Obviously, people need to get their work done. But as long as they do get it done, I've got no issue with them taking a little time off to enjoy a quadrennial football tournament.

The fact is that a growing body of evidence shows that extremely long hours and unbroken spells of work are actually bad for productivity.

The much vaunted "protestant work ethic" is just a synonym for conspicuous working (a phenomenon which is bad for our mental and physical health).

Quartz explained it best: http://qz.com/406037/the-silly-reason-men-work-or-pretend-to-work-extrem...

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By plummy1
15th Jun 2016 12:19

i agree with Francois on this one. Use it as an opportunity to create some bonding amongst your staff. These tournaments only come round every two years and help to create a bit of balance between work and other areas of life. I think the analogy with a test match is pushing it as these can last five days and come around every few months. Possibly you might have to come up with a policy for the Rugby World Cup though.

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By davegibson00
17th Jun 2016 09:56

Life/work balance mate. Giving your employees the occasional carrot is also good for morale.

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