How watching the World Cup at work could be good for business

HR consultants recommend employers make the World Cup part of the workplace

Italy fans watch a soccer match during the Euro 2012 tournament.
Photo: CTV News

Whether its because of 'off-site meetings,' 'client calls,' or 'summer hours;' seeing your co-workers in the office might become a rare sight over the next month.

The World Cup kicks off on Thursday and that means the pressure's on to find excuses not to be at work in the afternoon.

Pubs and restaurants are getting ready for a significant boost in afternoon business.

One report out of Europe predicts the British economy could lose up to $6 billion in lost productivity while the tournament is on.

Exactly how much a distracted staff could cost a company is debatable but the Human Resources experts at N-Gen People Performance, say a smart employer will make the World Cup part of the workplace.

"Being able to incorporate that into the work environment to make it fun and to acknowledge that its happening just makes good business," says managing partner Giselle Kovary.

Banning online streams or unplugging the lunchroom TV might not be the way to go.

The reality is, Kovary says, fans still want to know what the score is.

"They'll either find a reason to be 'off-site' for that or they'll just book off the days."

She adds as long as the workplace focus remains on putting the customer first, encouraging some friendly soccer rivalry could help company morale and might even improve the bottom-line.

Kovary tells her clients any work that gets put off while the game is on can be done at the office after the final whistle blows -- or taken home and completed later.

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