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Management: Gooooooaaaaaaaalll! - Executive Leadership Articles

Management: Gooooooaaaaaaaalll!

Executive Leadership Articles

Management: Gooooooaaaaaaaalll!

For about a month beginning this week, the world will be soccer-crazy, and if you work with Millennials, they’re very likely to be distracted by it. In the United States, soccer is surpassed in popularity only by American football among the thirty-five-and-under demo, and the World Cup is contested only once every four years.

It’s a big deal.

Sure, it’s only a sport, and sport is a distraction from work and life. If you don’t get why fans are very passionate about such things, no amount of explaining is likely to make sense. However, you can take it as fact that if there are devotees in your office, they will be at least slightly distracted by the competition in Russia ending on July 16. Probably, they will be extremely distracted.

If you’ve heard some buzzing already, consider letting go just a bit and embracing the buzz. The Super Bowl generates the most water-cooler conversation in the U.S., but the game itself is on Sunday, which means at worst you’ll have to deal with more sick leave than normal on Monday. The World Cup has games every day for a month, and as the days tick by, fervor increases to a frenzy as most teams are knocked out and a few teams advance toward the final.

You may want to send out a casual reminder that everyone has a job to do, but rather than dampen spirits with increased vigilance, why not allow for some flexibility? Set up a couple of screens in the break room, or in some remote part of the office, where someone on a short break can wander over and cheer. Your people are grown-ups. They understand they have work, but if nobody abuses the coffee or water service, why should you expect anyone to abuse a little bit of extra break time for checking on the matches?

You might notice lunch breaks taking a little bit longer, or small groups of two or three taking an early lunch off-site. It’s not uncommon during the World Cup for nearby sports bars to do booming business in the middle of a workday. Unless anything becomes a problem, think about looking the other way when sixty-minute lunches stretch out to an hour and a half.

If your workplace is tolerant of occasional in-office wagering (as with baby pools or NCAA tournament brackets), ask someone to set something up and update the results daily, either in email or on a big board. It may sound stupid, but such activities can be bonding, even though they’re about as passive as bonding activities ever get. A sense of inclusion permeates the atmosphere, a feeling of being part of something fun within the context of contributing to the important work you do.

You already know that people feel better about where they work if they have occasional fun, and while it remains true that the best bonding comes when coworkers do meaningful work together, a little bit of friendly, competitive spectatorship can also go a long way in strengthening connections.

 

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Management: Gooooooaaaaaaaalll! - Executive Leadership Articles

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