Wed, 13 June 2018
Latest research by online recruitment firm Gulf Talent reports how staff productivity is bound to take a heavy hit all through World Cup 2018. A recent survey suggests that while some employees will leave work early or utilise their annual and sick leave, a quarter would simply sneak away from their desk to watch it on company TV screens or simply live stream it on their mobile phones.
A whopping 92 percent of employees in the region plan to watch at least some of the games of which 84% were women and 93% were men. Of the surveyed employees, 28% admitted that they planned to watch at least some of the games during their work hours. Interestingly, the survey found accountants more likely to secretly watch the games at their desk, while customer service personnel were expected to utilise their annual leave and stay home. Civil Engineers were found to be more likely leave work early to watch the games, while almost two-thirds of other professionals surveyed said they would sleep late after watching the night matches. To counter the late nights, 74% said they would simply cut down on their bedtime hours while 17% would show up late to work. A further 8% said they’d debit it from their annual leave while 1% of fans have decided to simply call in sick.
Bunking work to watch the FIFA matches was not limited to junior employees. The survey found 32% of senior executives and company directors inclined to watch the games during office hours, as compared to 28% of staff members. Overall, 67% of managers were comfortable allowing their team members towatch some of the games, provided the workload wasn’t too much. The survey found that managers who were themselves inclined to watch the games were more flexible with their employees, even willing to award time off when their personal favorites played.
The threat to workplace productivity is not confined to the Middle East alone. During the last World Cup, a survey involving 100 UK business leaders by telecoms and IT services provider Coms plc, estimated that the World Cup could result in a loss to British business of 250 million working hours. A separate survey by employment law specialists ELAS put the potential cost of the 2014 World Cup to Britain’s employers at £4bn in lost productivity.
According to GulfTalent, the unprecedented interest has been linked to the fact that four Arab countries have qualified this year. Moreover a large expat presence means there will be several voices cheering their own favourites. Moreover Middle East employers are set to suffer heavily due to inadequate guidelines. Only a few firms had set up stricter time and attendance monitoring, official warnings, potential salary deductions and ways to make up for hours missed. In fact 16% of companies were more generous with allowances such as awarding time off if targets had been achieved, allocating up to three early departures or late arrivals, permission to watch one’s national teams playing, or even providing for collective game watching on company TV screens as a team building initiative.
GulfTalent’s research was based on an online survey of 8,000 professionals based across ten countries in the Middle East and employed in different industries.