It was 2010. It was the World Cup, and I couldn't have cared less. Football? It's played with an oblong brown ball by large men who do their best to permanently disable each other, not by skinny speedsters passing a soccer ball back-and-forth with their feet, but never actually scoring.
Pigskin. America. [Expletive] yeah!
Anyway, while I may not have been the biggest soccer fan in the world, many of my coworkers were. Spare computer monitors were streaming World Cup matches throughout the office. Until the senior partner noticed and yelled at everyone, including me, for our "lack of professionalism" by watching soccer at work. (I'm still bitter. I was working on an Excel spreadsheet.)
Needless to say, that wasn't the best way to handle it. With the Winter Olympics in Sochi offically opening today, here are a few tips for handling your firm's sports fans, sans the unwarranted freak outs:
Set a Policy
You, quite obviously, don't want productivity to suffer. And you don't want your employees singing, "We are Jamaica, we have a bobsled team," while a divorce client is crying in the lobby.
Here's the good news: in a series of studies regarding March Madness (that's college basketball playoffs, for the sports agnostic) video streaming at work, it turns out that most employers think it has no effect at all on the bottom line, workers spend more time daydreaming than watching basketball, and counter-intuitively, it may actually help productivity.
Our take: allow the Olympics, but set limits. No streaming while clients are present. Productivity has to stay up. And, if the office Internet crashes due to the strain, the culprit buys lunch.
There might be a particularly compelling moment, such as the U.S. Hockey team beating some communists, that brings the office together around a computer screen.
Yes, productivity may slip for that hour or two, but you aren't running a sweat shop -- be flexible, and remember that in the March Madness studies, most employers were finding that the in-office slackers were making up for it by taking work home.
Join the Jingoism
Hey, Grinch: stop spoiling the fun.
The Olympics is a time for national pride. Our nation's athletes compete against the world's best, and quite frankly, some of the Winter Games (speed skating, hockey, bobsledding) are actually more fun to watch than the Summer Snoozers (Discus throwing? More like Discuzzzz, right?)
Why not embrace the spirit of the games, boost morale, and have a viewing party with a catered lunch or dinner? Maybe Team USA can boost morale on Team My Law Firm. Who knows?
How does your office handle the Olympics and other sporting events? Tweet us your tips @FindLawLP.
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