As you can't fail to have noticed, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil started last week and last until 21 August.

It may not be as popular as the London Olympics but there are still millions of people who will want to watch the action live on TV but have to overcome the tiny problem of having to go to work.

Thankfully, Acas has produced a helpful document for organisations with suggestions on what to do during the games.

It covers all the usual advice given to employers during big sporting events but is worth repeating. In short, the advice boils down to two words: 'be reasonable'.


Whether or not employers currently have flexible working practices in the business, Acas suggest it may be something to consider, even as a short-term measure, during the period of the Olympic Games.

One suggested option is to have a more flexible working day, when employees may start a little later or finish earlier, with a prior agreement as to when the time will be made up.

Acas also suggest that allowing staff to listen to or watch some events is another possible option. It may also be possible to allow staff to take a break during popular events.

Annual leave

Annual leave should have been booked by employees before the games, but Acas remind organisations that they can consider late requests for time off work, depending upon staffing levels.

Employers should be fair and consistent when allowing time off and remember that rules and policies should be transparent and non-discriminatory.

Manage attendance

There will inevitably be those who 'chuck a sickie' so absence levels should be monitored. Employees could be reminded that any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence and/or lateness may result in disciplinary action.

Internet use

Employers may notice a reduction in performance as staff watch coverage on their computers, phones or tablets.

To combat that, Acas suggest giving staff access to a TV during agreed times. It may also be advisable to remind staff of any social media and/or internet policies about use during working hours.

Drinking policies

Acas suggest that employees should be reminded of any alcohol policy given that some people like to have a drink while watching sporting events.