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% 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% 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. 51% 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. 24% 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: “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.”