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Does the 2014 FIFA World Cup contribute to lost productivity at work?


In just a few hours the United States men's national soccer team will take on Belgium in the knockout round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With this global sporting event combined with a short work week (with the July 4th holiday falling on Friday) for most of the United States, employers may be wondering how this will impact workplace productivity all week.

Forbes reporter Susan Adams wrote that during last week’s match against Germany, conference calls were down 7% during the first half and continued to decrease as the game came down to the final five minutes. However, in the other net – so to speak – Forbes had a guest post by Neal Taparia, Co-CEO of Imagine Easy Solutions, who wrote that watching the World Cup will increase office productivity. Mr. Taparia discusses how encouraging employees to watch the matches can boost morale in the workplace. Is this similar to March Madness in the United States where the sentiment of employers sometimes is if you can’t beat them, join them?

The black and white answer to the question is yes. In pure terms of work getting done, many people will probably be watching the match or following on their smart phones or via social media. This means productivity will not be at its highest level during the three hours the match is occurring.

The bottom line is you as an employer have to decide if your workplace environment can embrace World Cup madness for a few hours. As pointed out by Mr. Taparia, there is a good case for building good will and embracing the event. Of course there will be environments where safety and other factors prevent taking this approach.

So today, when you hear “gooaaaaaal” erupt in your workplace, we at Sedgwick hope it is followed by chants of USA…USA, as we wish the USMNT good luck against Belgium.

And we wish each of you a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend.

Jonathan Mast, Director of Social Media

July 2, 2014: A follow up note. Some of our own Sedgwick colleagues in our King of Prussia, PA, office held their own world cup celebration. They hosted a ladder ball tournament and a cookout. This is just another example of how you can chose to build morale around various national or global events.

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