The Olympics is coming but is your workplace ready?

There will be no escaping the buzz and excitement of Rio Olympics 2016 this summer and people across the country will want to be right in the middle of the action as the games unfold.

What if the game you want to watch is during work hours? As there are many people at work who will want to watch the Olympics the TUC has urged bosses to allow staff to work flexibly during the games.

Flexible working has real benefits for businesses and workers, and this year’s Olympic Games could be a perfect opportunity for employers to test it out. Many workplaces already operate a system of flexitime which allows staff the freedom beyond their core hours to come in early and go home early, or get into work late and leave the office later. Those that don't yet, might find it's a win-win for their staff and their business.

The main prescription is, as always, that employers should talk to workers and their unions to work out how to get to a win-win outcome. Deal with the issue now, don’t wait until the opening ceremony to get started.

It’s also worth remembering it's not just sports fans who work regular hours who are affected, more than one in five UK employees (5.8 million people) work evenings and weekends, and many will want to watch their national sporting heroes take part in the Olympics.

Olympic events start at various times, with some highlights likely to include British competitors happening in standard office hours, like the rowing finals stating at 12.30pm, equestrian finals at 2pm and the men’s doubles tennis final at 4pm.

To avoid any problems bosses should talk to their staff and try and let people who want to watch important events in the Olympics do so, either at work or at home – and then put their hours in afterwards.

Summer Olympics only come around every four years so allow working people to have more flexibility in how and when they do their work – it makes a happier workplace, cutting absenteeism and raising productivity.

Check out our advice on working through Rio Olympics 2016

Things you need to know:

Event times: There are two time zones in Brazil, and Rio is 4-5 hours behind UK time. While some of the most high profile action – like the athletics finals – will happen in the middle of the night, events which could have GB interest, such as rowing, tennis, swimming, triathlon and equestrian finals, will happen mid-afternoon. The Telegraph website lists the events most likely to feature GB sporting heroes here. The BBC also has an interactive schedule for the games.

Key events taking place during standard weekday working hours include:

  • 2pm, Tuesday 9 August: Equestrian team evening final
  • 12.30pm, Wednesday 10 August – Rowing finals
  • 12.30pm, Thursday 11 August – Rowing finals
  • 12.30pm, Friday 12 August – Rowing finals
  • 4pm, Friday 12 August – Men’s tennis doubles final
  • 2pm, Wednesday 17 August – Equestrian team jumping final
  • 3pm, Thursday 18 August – Men’s triathlon
  • 2pm, Friday 19 August – Equestrian individual jumping final