Super Bowl Fever: Tips for Keeping the Workplace Cool as Temperatures Rise

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By: Jay M. Dade and Cary Burke

Super Bowl LIII is fast approaching.  The Big Game always brings excitement, and can stoke friendly rivalries between employees rooting for different teams.  To ensure Super Bowl fever doesn’t cause the office to boil over, employers should consider the below tips to keep the workforce cool, calm, and productive as game day draws near.

1. Revisit and Communicate Time-Off Policies

Super Bowl LIII kicks off at 6:30 p.m. eastern time, and the game will likely last until (at least) 10 p.m.  Couple the late end time with the eating and celebrating that accompanies most Super Bowl parties, and odds are good that some employees will show up late to the office the next day (or will call out). To that end, employers may wish to take the opportunity, early, to revisit with employees the organization’s workplace vacation or paid time off (PTO) policy.

Additionally, management officials should communicate the employer’s time-off policies and process/system for time-off requests and approvals, paying attention to communicating any first-requested, first-approved, workplace coverage and seniority requirements, before employees (and HR) find themselves confronted with denied requests, disappointments, and morale issues.

2. Address the Dress Code

Workplace dress codes vary across professions, industries and even specific company/office cultures. For some employers, the big game may provide a great – and sometimes, needed – opportunity to reiterate to employees attire that is, and is not, appropriate in a particular workplace. Maybe team jerseys, hats, and tees are encouraged in some workplaces, but in others, they are considered too casual for business casual. Remind employees, again, of the organization’s dress code policy.

If the employer has not implemented a formal dress code policy, consider taking the opportunity to work with management to develop, and communicate, a policy that informs employees of appropriate attire in the particular workplace. At a minimum, communicate the employer’s expectations for workplace attire. Finally, always review applicable federal, state and local laws and guidance for applications of dress code requirements among certain protected classes.

3. Remind Employees of Standards of Conduct

Playful banter between employees rooting for opposing teams has the potential to turn sour quickly.  Employers may wish to take the opportunity to remind their workforce of the employer’s standards of conduct and to treat all employees, customers, and vendors with courtesy and respect.