For 3,000 years, we have celebrated and cheered on Olympic athletes – to the tune of over 30 billion viewers around the world. People coming together, through a sense of comradery and pride, can create a positive halo effect in their daily lives. Alison Dodd, Managing Director of Moorepay, believes that “these [Olympics] sporting events present companies with a great opportunity to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.”
So how do you harness this super-dose of positive energy in the workplace – you broadcast the games in the office, right? Well, many employers find it counter-intuitive to broadcast sports in the workplace – stating that it could decrease productivity. Let’s set the record straight… technology allows us to find out whatever we want, whenever we want, so it should come as no surprise that anxious employees will rely on their individual devices to get updates. A study done during March Madness showed that employers lost close to $1.3 billion due to unproductive employees going to their devices to check scores and update their brackets. And yes, the Olympics present hundreds of opportunities for betting, but most people concentrate on the sportsmanship and become inspired by watching athletes achieve their lifelong dreams.
Okay, back to the whole “watching TV at work and decreased productivity” thing… Here’s a little secret: your productivity may already be suffering. The average employee spends around 2,000 hours working every year, and according to a study on the State of the Global Workplace, 54% of US and Canadian employees are “not engaged” at work, while 18% are “actively disengaged”.
This means that the majority of employees either lack motivation or are flat-out unproductive, making it critical for employers to find more meaningful ways to encourage their employees.
A Warwick study shows that happy employees are 12% more productive, while unhappy employees are 10% less productive. If employers can find a way to make employees happier, statistically, productivity should rise.
Sports, especially multi-week events like the Olympics and the World Cup, have certain effects that regular TV can’t offer. Allowing employees to come together and cheer for a team creates a sense of comradery. And as you look to attract and keep young talent – consider your office culture. A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study found that “Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and desire a work environment that emphasizes teamwork and a sense of community.”
BNO’s VP of Employer Communications, Ray Ferreira, believes that it’s not just Millennials who feel this way, but all generations – Millennials are just more vocal about their needs.
Celebrating the inherent values found in the Olympic Games is an easy way to demonstrate company culture. While work is no day at the beach, live-streaming the beach volleyball competition in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro doesn’t hurt. Even when employees are screaming (at the TV) – they’re engaging with fellow coworkers, creating a bond, and being inspired to push through and achieve goals – just like an Olympian.