During the eight weeks of the World Cup, starting in June (100 days from today), nearly three-quarters of UK businesses will provide a communal area for staff to watch matches played during working hours. According to a survey by telecoms and IT services provider Coms plc, involving 100 UK business leaders, this could result in a loss to British business of 250,000,000 working hours.
Says Coms CEO Dave Breith: ‘In addition to the companies providing communal viewing areas, a further 19% of businesses said they will allow staff to watch the games at their desks. In 2010 the mainstream TV companies reported that 20 million UK people watched the World Cup final. If even half this number watch this year’s matches - and with the increased popularity of screening this could well be higher – that is a quarter of a million working hours lost.
‘Kick off times vary from 5pm, 9pm and 11pm. With some games finishing after midnight this could also affect late- and night-shift efficiency and also result in staff arriving late for work.’
On a more positive side, 41% of respondents said they would require staff to make up the lost time, a grumpy 8% said they wouldn’t allow their staff to watch any matches at all in work time and 32% haven’t yet made up their minds.
A striking 73% of respondents felt that their broadband will be adequate to cope with the increased demand. However, with reports that this year’s competition could be the most popular for streaming, broadband systems could be put under an unprecedented strain. Business now relies on broadband for day-to-day operations, so it could be more than just football that could be turned off come June.
On the plus side 50% of respondents said that the tournament gives the nation a’ feel-good factor’ and will actually aid performance. This compares with 19% complaining that it will be a hindrance to performance, 18% saying they are ‘worried’ about performance and 13% counting the days until the tournament closes.
Says Breith: ‘With the economy growing at the fastest rate since the pre-credit crisis, these survey results beg the question: have the effects of the World Cup been seriously factored into UK-wide business plans?’