Why the Olympics might be freezing up office productivity
The flame of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is lit and the games are on, but research shows that the weeks-long event can have an impact on employee productivity, costing employers roughly $1.7 billion. According to a report from marketing insight firm Office Pulse, 56% of working professionals plan to watch this year’s event. Here’s how the games may affect your workplace.
About a quarter (24%) of companies say they will let their employees watch the Olympics as long as it doesn’t interfere with business. Twenty-six percent of business professionals say they plan to monitor the Olympics using their personal cellphone, followed by their company laptop/desktop (23%). Only 7% of workers say they will be watching secretly in the office, millennials being the biggest culprits.
One in three of the 568 white-collar staffers surveyed by Office Pulse say they plan to talk about the Olympics at work. The conversations will be “morale boosting” for 33% of millennials, but “distracting” for 38% of baby boomers, per the study.
There is an estimated $1.7 billion loss in productivity due to employees watching the Winter Olympics at work. But that’s a far cry from time lost to the Rio de Janeiro games, however. The 2016 Summer Olympics accounted for a whopping $5.4 billion in lost productivity, according to Office Pulse.
Baby boomers are more likely to find Olympic chatter “distracting” (38%) compared to 24% of Gen X and 19% of millennials, giving employers an opportunity to set up boundaries and help maintain some order.
As many as tens of millions of women may never return to the labor force, even after a vaccine is found. Altogether, global gross domestic product could be $1 trillion less in 2030 than it would be without a gender unemployment gap.
By Olivia Rockeman, Reade Pickert and Catarina Saraiva