Screening sporting events in the workplace may increase workplace productivity, according to research released today by Peninsula, the HR and employment law specialist.  In a survey of 894 employees across the UK, 64 percent reported being more productive as a result of their employers allowing them to watch sporting events including the Euro at work. This included screening games in the office or in lunch areas, reducing the need for workers to check their phones and scroll the internet for updates.

The survey, which aimed to examine how businesses managed employees during the first half of the summer of sports also revealed that 46 percent of employees want clearer policies regarding watching sporting events at work. This related to the fact that employers only showed certain games, namely the England matches and didn’t show any of the Wimbledon tournament. Just over half  of respondents also called for employers to be more flexible during major sporting games allowing them to start late, leave early or swap their shifts with colleagues. A quarter said that a lack of flexibility would encourage their decision to call in sick in order to watch their favourite sporting event.

Alan Price HR Director at Peninsula said:

“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.”

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.