Manage requests for time off during the Games well, and you’ll keep staff motivated in the long term.
The summer months are a time when motivation to be at work can suffer, as hot days can reduce productivity. Add the desire to attend or watch a major sporting event, such as the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games, and workforce pressures rise.
As a manager, you will need to demonstrate flexibility, while making sure high-quality care is consistently delivered by ensuring nurses’ morale and motivation remain high.
Lack of flexibility can lead to increased staff absence coinciding with major sporting events. During the Sydney Olympic Games,
27% of all employees took annual leave, according to figures from British Telecom. Additionally, 28% of organisations reported a rise in staff absence.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development suggests that where employers pay specific attention to their employees’ outside interests, staff will be happy to go the extra mile. Therefore, if employers can be flexible at times of potentially high absence, they will be rewarded with higher productivity and prevent increases in workforce pressure.
You need to consider capacity when planning. Consider using approaches to autumn and winter pressures in advance.
Manage increased requests for annual leave by hours and days where possible. Negotiate with staff over the specific days they would like off to attend events rather than booking entire weeks.
Where possible, be flexible around shift patterns and support changes to accommodate specific needs. As a final option, temporary staff could be employed in the short term to provide continuity of service.
By adopting a flexible approach, you could use the Olympic Games as an opportunity to build on existing staff engagement to provide long-term benefits for all.
Rachel Wingfield is business development manager at the NHS East Midlands Leadership Academy
Generate and maintain high staff morale
- Brainstorming: Engage with your teams when planning and encourage them to think of ideas to make their working environment fun. Their ideas may include team activities and delivery targets linked to Olympic themes, themed team-building exercises, decoration of rest areas and providing celebration food for key events.
- Shift swapping: Offer employees opportunities to change shifts around events. This provides an informal, flexible approach to staffing where 24-hour care is required.
- Flexible working: Where possible, consider allowing staff to start later or finish earlier to allow them access to events. Be flexible with lunch patterns and offer extended lunch breaks, with the agreement that time owed will be made up on a later shift.
- On-site access to events: Provide a TV in the rest room or allow staff access to areas where a TV will be on for popular events. Provide radios in staff areas.