Belfast Telegraph

Ulster bosses bad sports when it comes to rugby

By Heather McGarrigle

Only a quarter of Northern Ireland bosses say they will accommodate flexi-time requests to allow employees to enjoy the Rugby World Cup, according to the latest Business Barometer survey.

The tournament takes place in New Zealand between September 9 and October 23.

All the home nations are competing this year, however workplaces in Northern Ireland and Scotland appear to be the least flexible in the UK on granting changes to the working day.

With 25% of bosses in Northern Ireland willing to allow rugby fans to fit their working day around the World Cup, Scotland is the only nation with a lower percentage, at 20%.

However nearly nine out of ten UK bosses don't believe the competition will have a knock-on effect on staff productivity, with 18% allowing staff to watch matches on the TV or listen to them on the radio in the workplace.

The quarterly Business Barometer is independently commissioned and published by Close Commercial Finance.

Harry Parkinson, managing director of Close Commercial Finance in Ireland, said: "With matches being shown in the early hours of the morning and at the 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 later or finish early.

"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."