2018 Winter Olympics to Cost Employers $1.7B

As the world descends upon South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, business professionals across the United States will have their eyes peeled on Pyeongchang. Less discussed: U.S. businesses can expect a $1.7 billion loss in productivity due to employees watching the Olympics at work, according to an Office Pulse study.

More than half of business professionals plan to follow the action in Pyeongchang this month. During work hours, about a quarter of employees will spend up to an hour watching the Olympics, and an additional 12 percent will watch for over an hour, the study shows.

Fortunately, this Winter Olympics is not expected to decrease productivity nearly as much as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. That year, businesses lost $5.4 billion as a result of a massive productivity drop.

There are those who argue that encouraging people to watch the Olympics together at work can actually increase productivity. Margot Ross-Graham, a workplace columnist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), explained that some companies provide TVs in common areas so employees can watch the Olympics together. The “camaraderie of sports” serves as a good bonding opportunity, she said.

Integrating the Olympics into the workplace also encourages people to take lunch breaks, which actually increases productivity, Ross-Graham reported. Research shows that getting up from your desk and taking a break in the middle of the day improves your concentration, creativity, and efficiency.

So while we shouldn’t let the action in Pyeongchang distract us from work, it highlights how organizations need always stay on the lookout for ways to improve workplace performance.

For over 25 years, Talley has provided clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions to our clients, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress, and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all the metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.