Rugby World Cup 2015 fever: Bosses to allow workers to avoid the scrum and leave early

UK bosses will allow employees flexible working to enjoy the Rugby World Cup 2015, according to Robert Half UK research.

  • 73% of organisations will offer employees flexi-time or early finishes during the Rugby World Cup 2015 (RWC 2015) to let them watch games
  • Only five per cent of HR Directors believe RWC 2015 will have a negative impact on their workplace, disrupting employee morale
  • Robert Half offers ideas for employers on how to incorporate the Rugby World Cup into team building activities

London, 1 September 2015 – Generous bosses across the UK will allow employees to escape the transport scrum and leave their desks early to watch the Rugby World Cup 2015.  Nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK firms will allow employees the flexibility to watch matches reveals new research1 from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK.  Of those, more than one in five (22%) will always offer flexi-time or early finishes to watch the game. With games kicking off on weekdays as early as 14:302 employers are allowing workers who traditionally work nine to five significant leeway to catch all the rugby action.   

Only five per cent of HR Directors believe RWC 2015 will have a negative impact on their workplace, disrupting employee morale.  Increasingly companies see the cohesive benefits of coming together to enjoy a sporting spectacle and emotionally invest in the event.  Companies that embrace RWC 2015 are expected to generate significant benefits, more than half (54%) of HR directors believing Rugby World Cup themed activities in the workplace will have a positive impact on employee morale. 

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director of Robert Half, commented: “Companies increasingly recognise that allowing employees flexibility has a positive effect on morale and also productivity. In the growing war to attract talent, employers who are seen to be providing their employees with autonomy and rewarding their staff will be more attractive to potential candidates.

“As the Rugby World Cup sweeps the nation, employers who plan ahead and incorporate the event into their team building plans will make the most of the event. Many businesses will be hoping for a repeat of the ‘Olympic’ effect when the country came together, creating an incredible atmosphere that was great for businesses and their employees.” 

Employers in London are the most accommodating when it comes allowing workers time off to watch RWC 2015, with almost a third (30%) of employers set to allow flexi-time or early finishes for all employees.  Employers in the Midlands are overall the least accommodating when it comes to allowing employees to watch the sporting action. 

Table one: Regional breakdown of organisations willing to allow flexi-time or early finishes to allow employees to watch RWC 2015

Region Always offer flexible working options Sometimes offer flexible options based on employee
London 30% 63%
South West & Wales 25% 50%
Midlands 25% 33%
North of England 18% 50%
Scotland 13% 58%

Source: Robert Half UK, 2015

Robert Half offers ideas on how to incorporate the Rugby World Cup festivities into the office:

  • Allow teams to wear rugby jerseys for the country they are supporting for ‘casual Friday’
  • Decorate the office with rugby merchandise to engage people with the tournament
  • Organise an office touch rugby competition one evening during the tournament, encouraging team bonding
  • Have the matched playing on the office TV, that way people can stay up-to-date with the tournament if they aren’t able to take advantage of flexible options to work around the game
  • Host staff viewing parties,  put the matches on a screen in a meeting room and encourage employees to watch the games together
  • Encourage employees to compete in RWC 2015 fantasy leagues – as they pick their ultimate team for the tournament


Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location. 


About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and