Productivity and the Melbourne Cup

Published at Nov 2, 2015, in Features

It may be the Melbourne Cup, but it is the race that stops the nation. What that means is that productivity often declines on the first Monday and Tuesday of November.

According to Randstad Market Analyst Steve Shepherd, businesses across the country are preparing for a potential drop in productivity as many workers enjoy one of the longest lunches of the year.

“Melbourne Cup is an Australian institution, home to the finest thoroughbred horses, racing and fashion parades,” says Shepherd.

“It may be the race that stops the nation, but it is also a chance for employers to celebrate tradition, facilitate team building and boost staff satisfaction as we approach the end of the year.”

While there are short-term costs due to the loss of productivity on Cup day, failing to celebrate the occasion and sending the wrong message to employees may be more costly.

“Australians just want to enjoy the spirit of the Melbourne Cup, regardless of whether or not they take part in the sweepstakes.

“To minimise disruptions to productivity, and ensure everyone has a chance to enjoy Cup day, we encourage businesses to plan ahead by delaying non-urgent deadlines and setting realistic workloads,” says Shepherd.

To ensure a successful Melbourne Cup, Randstad, provide the following tips for employers:

  • All in, or nothing: Make sure leaders are on the same page when it comes to company celebrations. Maintain clear communication with line managers to ensure the business takes a united front. There’s nothing worse than being told you have to get back to work while colleagues in another department continue the celebrations.
  • Simplicity is key:Keeping everyone happy is never easy, especially in large organisations. Make sure celebrations run smoothly by keeping them simple, entertaining and when in doubt, ask the audience.
  • Be considerate: Bear in mind not everyone has the same views around gambling or the horse racing industry – so make sure employees don’t feel pressured to participate in Melbourne Cup sweepstakes or celebrations.
  • Enjoy responsibly:When serving alcohol, ensure plenty of food and water is provided and encourage responsible drinking. While flowing champagne may be a crowd pleaser, you’re likely to face some unproductive workers the following day.
  • Consider cover:One way to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the occasion is by employing a temporary worker to cover roles like customer service and reception. Make sure any ‘temp’ staff receive a good briefing and understand how to action urgent enquiries.

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