The Bournemouth Air Festival returns to the south coast once again this summer, filling the skies with amazing sights and sounds between 29th August and 1st September 2019. While the spectacle is a highlight in the social diary, the annual event also provides Bournemouth with a massive boost to the local economy.
It’s estimated that 2018’s four-day event was worth an estimated £31 million to the town, as well as attracting more than 1 million people. Existing businesses immediately see a rise in visitors, takings and profit during the long weekend, and the event itself is reputed to sustain 500 jobs.
The figures make for positive reading in the tourism industry but there is another side to the air festival that can end up costing local companies money. The sight of RAF Typhoons, Chinooks and Spitfires as well as parachute displays, wing walkers and biplanes performing stunts often proves irresistible.
Staff are frequently tempted to down tools and run outside to grab a glimpse of the planes – hotfooting it as soon as they hear the unmistakable roar of a jet engine. Although this sounds innocuous enough, it actually eats away at productivity time – especially if the office decamps en masse or it happens several times a day. There’s also a bigger temptation in the form of the ‘summer sickie’, with employees calling in ill so they can enjoy a whole day on the beachfront – a problem that’s exacerbated when the sun is shining.
Bournemouth businesses might want to try a different tact this summer – one that may sound counterintuitive but can actually reap rewards. Giving your staff dedicated time off to enjoy the air festival is a preemptive plan to see you through the event period. This could take the form of a two-hour extended lunch, early finishes or even half days. The nature of your business will shape whether the special circumstances apply to everyone at the same time or whether you stagger the perks but the idea remains the same – give your employees time back and create an enhanced sense of good will.
There is some method in the madness, based on recent research by TotalJobs. It analysed what happened when employers allowed staff to watch sports events on screens in their office. When it came to productivity, 28% of employees reported that their productivity had increased during periods when sports where shown. In addition, almost 50% of employees felt being able to watch a sports screening during the work day had increased their loyalty to the company, and 47% of workers found better workplace banter during sporting and cultural events which, in turn, increased morale.
Although the Bournemouth Air Festival isn’t a sporting event, the principal is the same. Denying your staff the chance to watch such a prestigious celebration that’s happening right on their doorstep may foster a sense of resentment – and increase the chances of absenteeism.
Take the opportunity to treat your staff – throw in a round of ice creams and you’ll leave a positive, lasting impression as the summer draws to a close.
Robert Bond FIRP
Rob has a background in Sales and IT recruitment with over 25 years of experience in these sectors. He heads up the IT and Accountancy Divisions of Bond Williams and is also responsible for Bond Williams internal Operations and Finance. Alongside Claire, he is responsible for the overall growth and …