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Charlie Duff

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McDonald’s flexible football league

Flexible working picture

Flexible working is being utilised by McDonald's this World cup season to ensure staff are happy to fit their shifts around football. David Fairhurst comments on the ideas behind the policies.

We have reported on McDonald's flexible working and apprenticeship policies before on HRzone, but having a great HR function in place is useless without good communication and staff uptake. McDonald's has practiced flexible shift arrangements for all employees for some time now and it seems to be coming in handy now as according to a staff poll, 84% of McDonald’s UK employees are planning to use flexible working initiatives around the World Cup. Typical examples quoted were: swapping shifts, working part-time during the Cup and taking unpaid leave in order to follow the games.

David Fairhurst, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK and Northern Europe, said: “The World Cup is set to be a fantastic sporting occasion and will be enjoyed by millions of people across the world – and our people at McDonald’s are no exception. As a World Cup sponsor, we want everyone to have the opportunity to follow their team during the tournament. Exceptional events like the World Cup have the potential to give employee morale a boost and build great team spirit among colleagues.

“We believe in the value of flexible working, both for employees and for our business, and innovative HR schemes are already proving effective to make sure everyone’s able to celebrate the World Cup without it affecting their work. For instance, we’ve asked our employees about their World Cup plans, and a significant proportion are planning to take advantage of our flexible working arrangements to avoid missing any key matches. Football fans on our Friends & Family Contract are already starting to swap shifts with colleagues so they can watch their team in action. Their appetite for the flexible working options we offer is good news for them and good news for our business.”

Case study: Rachel Carlisle

18-year-old Rachel Carlisle has been a football fan her whole life after inheriting her Mum’s passion for Manchester United. It’s no surprise then that, like so many across the globe, she’s hoping to enjoy a festival of football when the World Cup kicks off this June.

Rachel has worked as a crew member at her local McDonald’s in Dungannon, County Tyrone, for the last four months as a way of helping support her A level study at her local college. She has a busy schedule, but she’s going to pull out all the stops to follow England as the tournament unfolds: “I’ve got all the key England games planned out in my diary and I’m already making plans to swap shifts with my friends,” she said. “The great thing about McDonald’s is that we can plan our working times using the employee website and McDonald’s encourages flexible working. It’s really simple to just swap shifts with colleagues who follow other teams or who aren’t football nuts like me!”

The World Cup is already dominating chat in the crew room and there are mini-rivalries developing between the England supporters and the Spain, Mexico and Brazil supporters. Rachel said: “Everyone has their different team, so I volunteered to help out one day and created a match schedule showing when everyone’s teams are playing. It’s now taking pride of place in the middle of our staff room and everyone’s planning their life around it.”

On match days she plans to visit her local café or pub, both of which are putting up special screens for the tournament, and she expects to watch a lot of the games with her colleagues, many of which she’s become strong friends with: “I started this job just to get some more money for studying, but it was so fun and everyone was so welcoming that I soon started asking for extra shifts!” Rachel admitted. “It’s been a great experience – I’ve had to learn plenty of new skills and made lots of new friends.

Rachel is set to go on to study Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, but plans to continue working at McDonald’s to help support herself while she studies.

And how is she going to keep track of the progress of England’s rivals?  “There’s a TV in the crew room, so I’ll be able to keep an eye on the score during my breaks.”

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