Self-employed primed to be World Cup winners

Self-employed freelancers are less likely to experience a lag in productivity arising from this year’s World Cup than employees, according to FreeAgent.

The accounting platform said the prevalence of flexible working schedules among freelancers meant that they (and therefore their end-users), will be less affected by ‘tournament-inspired’ absenteeism.

It comes after researcher Ipsos MORI revealed that nearly one in four respondents say they will skip work because of the World Cup, which is due to run (in terms of scheduled matches) until July 15th.

“Some of those who don’t take….authorised leave may try and sneak match-viewing into their work hours, which could dramatically cut their productivity,” said FreeAgent, pointing the finger at employees with an uncontrollable love of 'the beautiful game'.

“[In addition], businesses look set to lose out on billions of pounds during the tournament due to unauthorised staff absences.”

But the accounting platform tots up that self-employment will be one area of the UK economy to emerge relatively unscathed from World Cup fever, as many freelancers enjoy the flexibility to choose the business hours that suit them best.  

Employers who emulate the freelance work model – such as by giving their staff outcomes to achieve, rather than timed tasks to adhere to – should likewise be able to minimise ‘cup slump,’ believes FreeAgent’s Ed Molyneux.

“It’s not surprising that employee absenteeism spikes during major sporting events, but few business-owners are fully aware of the financial implications these absences can have”, he said.

“During this World Cup, the combined cost of sick days, unauthorised leave and employees surreptitiously watching games in the office when they should be working could well be in the billions.”

The one bright spot (albeit just for employers) suggesting that, in the UK, World Cup fever will be relatively short-lived was another finding from Ipsos MORI: that only 3% of adults think England will win, rising to just 4% among adults in the UK.

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