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That Bored Lifeguard May Not Be the Only Unproductive Worker Watching the Olympics

By now you may have seen all the coverage of the rather bored-looking lifeguards at the Olympic swimming events. As it turns out, they may not be the only workers who are sitting around watching the Olympics on the clock.In a recent Workforce Institute survey commissioned from Harris Poll, one in six workers (that's 17% for those struggling with the math) reported that they "would make up an excuse to leave work early, come in late, or play hooky altogether and call in sick" in order watch an Olympic event live. Considering that one in three employees would "watch an Olympic event live if it aired during work," this begs the question, what are your employees working on this week? Or more important, are they working at all?

That is a question that only you can answer, but we can provide you with some helpful tips that may assist you with curbing productivity issues that you may be experiencing this week:

  • A Mobile Device Policy: If you have one, great! If you don't, consider instituting one. Make sure that the policy touches on issues such as: use of mobile devices during work hours; use of company internet; ownership interest in the device; whether work and personal materials can intermingle on personal devices.
  • Information Technology Department on Your Side: When we talk to clients, many of them are still lacking close and daily contact with their Information Technology Department. In a digital age the best way for HR to understand what a person's daily job functions look like is often through technology. Talk to your IT department about potentially blocking streaming video sites. The blockage may increase productivity and decrease unnecessary bandwidth.
  • Set Parameters: You may not want to kill the whole competitive air that surrounds the Olympics. While I don't suggest you re-enact Season 2, Episode 3: Office Olympics at Dunder Mifflin, consider instituting some health competition between employees from a productivity standpoint—put the competitive spirit to good use.

Being mindful of the issues in your workplace is the first step any good manager can take, instituting health policies is the second. Verrill Dana's Labor & Employment Practice Group wishes our friends and clients increased productivity during the 2016 Olympic Games, despite harrowing statistics to the contrary.

Topics: Best Practices, Mobile Device Policy, Productivity