Resident Wisdom: World Cup vs. Work


Type in “watching the World Cup at work” into your preferred search engine and you’ll find a glut of clickbait listicles explaining all the ways you can watch football from your desk, with hidden browsers, clever mirror angles, and frequent suggestions to resolve the situation with a sick day. We turn to our favourite sources, the Residents of Fora, to ask for their opinions on how to negotiate the World Cup in the workplace. How do management maintain a high standard of employee productivity, whilst keeping workers happy and boosting all-important staff retention?

Neil Crump is the Chief Innovation Officer and owner of Aurora, Residents at Fora Dallington Street. “Part of the stated purpose of our business is that our people have energising and enjoyable work and personal lives that are full of potential”, he says. “So encouraging our lot to go and watch some footie is totally cool”. It’s a refreshing and modern approach, showing the progressive workplace culture at Aurora, particularly given that Neil has “no interest in sport. I can confess to never having read the back pages of a newspaper”.

On the other hand Colby Short, CEO and Co-Founder of Fora Central Street Residents GetAgent, is a well-known sports fan. “I would probably watch most of the games myself if I had time. However, there’s still work to be done”. He acknowledges that whilst it could appear to be solely a distraction that negatively impacts working, a pause or break during working hours in fact boosts productivity, and so it would follow that watching the match could be worthwhile.

“Most of our team spend an extended amount of time on the phone during the day. An important element of their phone calls is to remain present within the call and be able to maximise the outcome of each one. To do this, it’s unrealistic to expect them to make 200 calls a day, one after the other. So it’s encouraged for them to have a bit of fun and a laugh in between”, he says. There’s a good atmosphere in the GetAgent office, as “the team all have a great sense of humour- they laugh at my jokes”.

Team happiness, high morale, and establishing a good workplace culture are invaluable tools for both attracting the best talent, and hanging onto that talent. Management styles have overwhelmingly turned from a traditional stern voice to a softer, more supportive tone. For the majority of Fora Residents, it’s important to create a culture at work that allows for fun during the day, although it’s not without some boundaries, and establishing a successful culture depends on a lot of factors.

Some guidance for negotiating team distractions in general? It’s important to be clear on what headline objectives are, and to communicate them consistently. Neil Crump of Aurora reasons, “Another stated value is ‘no one person is more important than the team’, so team members would never leave a colleague in the lurch”. Stated values such as these can be invaluable in informing staff of expectations.

So back to the beautiful game. As we watch England celebrate a winning penalty, we see how bonding the experience is for the team. In a more conventional workplace than a pitch, perhaps it’s less likely to have a team member skidding on their knees, but the experience of watching a game as a team can unite colleagues in a similar way. Bringing a team closer, whether it’s Southgate’s young players or your own employees, is always a worthwhile endeavour for its effect on communication and morale.

Regardless of business size, sector or objective, it seems that one core cultural and team value is shared by most Fora Residents this week: we are clearly united in our belief that it is indeed coming home.

Please note: It’s no longer coming home.