Wimbledon: productivity to lose in straight sets?

With half the web screening the tennis live, employers who want their workers to concentrate on something other than Federer vs Nadal might be fighting a losing battle...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 18 Jul 2011
Ah, Wimbledon: the time of year when those who wouldn’t usually give a toss about sports unaccountably spend their time waxing lyrical about the umpiring possibilities of Hawkeye. And, while there are at least three people in the UK who aren’t enamoured at the thought of Nadal heaving himself across Centre Court, the fact is that now half the country’s media websites are screening Wimbledon, it’s practically impossible to prevent it from distracting employees’ attention from time to time. But should employers be policing how much time workers spend keeping one eye on the score – or is it just a case of giving in?

According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the majority of workers won’t be given time off to watch the tennis. Hardly surprising, really – but the CIPD says that even if employers have misgivings, the majority of workers will find a way to watch it, albeit surreptitiously. Apparently, though, it’s a bad idea to make them hide it: not only could it cause workers to pull sickies so they can watch the finals, but having it on in the office could actually serve (geddit?) to boost team spirit.

Before you rush out to stock up on strawberries, though, bear in mind that even if you’re alright with employees streaming the tennis, it might not be logistically possible. That’s because streaming eats up bandwidth – thereby slowing down your internet connection and preventing non tennis fans from getting work done.

On the bright side, you can always get employees into the real spirit of Wimbledon by selling tiny pots of strawberries and cream or glasses of heavily diluted Pimm’s at £10 a pop at lunchtime. Which should more than make up for any money you lose through forfeited productivity…

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