July 25th, 2016
With over 300 competitions taking during the Rio 2016 Olympics, with many of them taking place during office hours, we ask the question- to watch or not to watch?
Any major sporting event that coincides with working hours is likely to bring the dilemma of whether watching the performances are allowed in the office or not. Those hard-core fans that absolutely live and breathe sport may take time off to follow the coverage or may even book time off to watch it live from the stadium. However, there are plenty that don't but are still passionate to see their team win.
Disallowing your employees to follow any of the sport has many dangers- other than coming across as a miser, the spirit of the work force is at risk. Low morale could be detrimental to your team- affecting staff performance, attendance and even employee turnover. Less engaged teams are prone to withdrawing their efforts and adopting counterproductive behaviour.
Employers who disallow the following of sporting events could find that their workforce become sneaky and disrespect the rules. This can mean absenteeism or sneaking online/ on their phones to check the results. A great example of this can be found from the NCAA who have created the 'boss button'. Every March in America there is a huge basketball tournament where many of the games are aired during the working day.
The NCAA are aware that many viewers watch the games online at their desks so have gone as far to develop the 'boss button'- a special keyboard shortcut used hide the live sport quickly.
Watching live sport during working hours clearly has its drawbacks- work still has to be done and disruption to schedules and deadlines can occur. However there are things that could be put in place to cause minimum disruption to the productivity of the workforce:
• Plan schedules with flexibility allowing more time for tasks around this time
• Avoid important deadlines clashing with key events where possible
• Incentivize the team- promise an early finish if targets are met early
Of course, like anything there has to be some balance- making sure colleagues don't take the mickey requires balance and prior agreements in place with regards to how much sport is tolerated.
Business leaders should question whether or not they want their colleagues to have to go to these lengths. Perhaps they could turn events like this to their advantage and keep morale high and further positive teamwork in your workplace.
Perhaps have a designated area available for viewing the live coverage- or minimise disruption and allow the radio at desks or why not introduce some kind of sweepstake on how many medals team GB win? Employers could gain a huge amount of goodwill by accommodating live sport meaning a happier workforce. A wise lady once told me- a happy team are a productive team so why not take heed and reap the rewards.
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