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September 27, 2016

Watching sport in the office

With the excitement of this year’s football Euros, Wimbledon and the Olympics, it’s become more and more common for offices in the UK to allocate time for watching sport. Whether it’s welcoming an early finish to watch an exciting final or simply having it on in the office during the day, sport is becoming a prevalent part of office culture.

In this blog we will look at whether watching sport in the office could be of benefit in promoting workplace well-being and morale or whether in fact it’s a distraction.

Should rules be put in place?

Whether it’s checking social media, sneaking a peak at a live blog or perhaps cleverly streaming live sport on one of your hundred open tabs, watching sport during the working day can’t exactly be doing wonders for productivity.

With so many exciting sporting events taking place this year, should we be wary of our employees not using their allocated work time appropriately? Recruitment experts earlier in the year predicted a fall in productivity and attendance due to the timings of such events.

Before the Euros had even begun this year, a study from Begbies Traynor revealed that nearly 75% of HR managers expected their employees to either call-in sick or simply make up an excuse in order to watch a game.

It’s even probable that some of the bigger sports fans (and perhaps those more cunning) even planned annual leave months in advance so that they could watch a match.

So should offices be cracking down on those skipping work to watch their favourite team, or should we embrace this new culture that’s infiltrating the UK workplace?

What the experts say

Prior to the Euros starting this year, Acas published a set of guidelines for various workplaces to take into consideration.

Acas suggested that companies should have specific rules in place so that workers don’t disregard their work responsibilities that could disrupt overall productivity.

For example, this year’s Euros was an extremely exciting series of matches. Not only was it the first year that both Wales and Northern Ireland qualified, but Wales even made history in reaching the semi-finals for the first time.

While it is recommended for employees to discuss having time off well in advance, or negotiate a flexible working system so that employees wanting to watch the match can leave early and make up their hours another time, employers are reminded that watching sport together could have tremendous effect on employee morale.

Good sportsmanship

For those who revel in following sport, sporting conversations may be an essential part of working life! Having a common interest, such as sport, could in fact help improve communication between employees and enhance overall wellbeing.

And why stop here? While encouraging staff to watch sport together could benefit productivity and boost overall morale why not play sport together? This could act as a powerful means of team bonding and who doesn’t enjoy getting involved with a bit of healthy competition?!

And you?

Do you think that staff should be allowed to watch sport in the office when prestigious games are being played? Or do you think that it may be too much of a distraction and stricter rules should be applied? Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch in the comments below. Alternatively let us know on our Facebook or fire us a tweet!