Will you show employees you’re a good sport during Olympics?

posted by 5 years ago in Features

64 per cent of workers have said it’ll make them more productive according to new research.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio are nearing the start with the Opening Ceremony kicking it all off on 5th August. 10,500 athletes from 206 countries (plus a team of refugees) will be taking part in 42 different sports. Both golf and rugby have been added to the event list and the live sports coverage will take place between 1pm and 3am UK time. This has prompted the question of whether UK employers will screen the action in Rio for their workforce?

New research has revealed that of 894 employees across the UK asked, 64 per cent claimed to be more productive thanks to their bosses allowing them to watch sporting events including the Euro at work. This included reducing the need for them to check their phones for updates by screening games in the office or lunch areas.

The survey has shown that 46 per cent of workers believe that clearer policies are needed when it comes to watching sport at work with 51 per cent calling for greater flexibility regarding shifts and work hours. Alarmingly 24 per cent said that a lack of employer flexibility would encourage their decision to call in sick in order to watch sport!

Alan Price HR Director at Peninsula said:

“The first half of the summer of sports including the Euro and Wimbledon had the nation gripped, but with the Rio Olympics just around the corner it is important for employers to plan ahead, particularly small and medium size businesses, for how they will manage employees who wish to watch the games and join in with the festivities.”

“It’s great to see that many companies have embraced employee’s excitement surrounding this summer’s sporting events. Having a little fun at work by decorating the office, holding themed events and allowing employees to watch the sporting games is great way to improve morale, whilst building loyalty and commitment across your workforce. It’s about finding the right balance for your business as what works for one, may not work for another.”

“Employers might assume that not as many people will be interested in watching the Olympics, but with so many different events it probably caters for a wider audience. It is important to ensure that equality is upheld in the workplace with regards to making sure all nations are represented and given equal billing. Also, don’t assume that women won’t be interested in boxing or that men won’t be interested in gymnastics.”

Price adds:

“Thinking flexibly will be the key to keeping a harmonious workplace during the Olympics. This will go a long way to ensuring that employee engagement remains consistent throughout.  This may include authorising shift swaps or allowing employees to move the time of their breaks. Furthermore, make sure staff are aware of absence policies and internet usage etc. This will help them understand the minimum requirements expected and prevent excuses that they didn’t know they were breaking any rules.”

Separate research by CV-Library studied staff attitudes towards watching sport at work. It revealed that 81.9 per cent of the UK’s workers believe that sporting events such as the upcoming Olympics are good opportunities for staff to bond, whether they enjoy sports or not.

Yet despite employees sharing their desire for an employer that supports such events, only one in eleven work for a company that embraces sporting competition. It remains to be seen whether that figure will rise during this month’s games!