Make us your home page
Instagram

Soccer fever epidemic runs through bay area workplaces

Businesses the world over face a productivity problem, and we're not talking about inadequate education or a shortage of capital investment. No, it's the World Cup. Take today's crucial match between the United States and Germany, which falls in the middle of the business day. For workers, the question is "How to watch?'' For employers, it's either "How do we stop them?'' or " Let's join the fun!''

Times wires and staff

Let's party!

Some companies like website consulting firm Socius Marketing in Tampa plan watch parties during lunchtime Thursday, bringing in pizza for their cheering masses. Others, like the Tampa unit of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau, will have TVs blaring the games in conference rooms, even if no formal festivity is planned.

Jacintha Anderson, Socius' public relations manager, isn't concerned the camaraderie will lead to lost productivity. Workers already have some flexibility to make up lost time and work longer hours certain weekdays as long as they meet monthly goals.

And it's hard to harness the enthusiasm. "We have a lot of soccer fans in the office," Anderson said, "and the TV has been on a lot the past couple of weeks."

A boost for productivity?

According to Wilfrid Laurier University psychology professor Anne Wilson, despite the distraction, letting workers enjoy the beautiful game can actually be a good thing for business.

"People talk a lot about the potential for lost productivity, and there certainly is that potential," said Wilson, a researcher at Waterloo-based Plasticity Labs. "But as a manager, if you leverage that for positive effect rather than for negative effect, it can actually end up transforming into something more positive for your company in the long-run."

Wilson said the bonds built between co-workers enjoying a common activity will outweigh any short-term losses.

– From Canadian broadcast company CTV.

The view from a think tank

Researchers have yet to release any estimate on U.S. productivity loss during this World Cup, but during the last tournament in 2010, InsideView projected that the U.S. economy lost $121.7 million, due to 21 million Americans watching for 10 work-minutes a day.

But such calculations don't quite jive with how most employees work, said Stan Veuger, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute, who took a break from watching the Spain-Netherlands match earlier this month to speak with CNBC. "They assume people don't plan around this and just actively stop work to watch," he said. There's no accounting for fans who anticipate game-day distraction, and so schedule their days accordingly."

– Kelli B. Grant, NBC News

Landon Donovon speaks out

The Los Angeles Galaxy highly professional soccer teams has released a new commercial telling Americans to "Skip Work" and "Watch the World Cup."

Naturally, the ad shows Galaxy star and U.S. men's national team castaway Landon Donovan playing the role of the one poor sap who shows up for work during the Cup. Donovan presides over the phone lines in the Galaxy's otherwise empty office. He's so very alone, but so very much a hero for this ad (which you can see at http://tinyurl.com/k7xlal3).

– Dan Carson, Bleacher Report.

Some workers won't be watching

Some Chinese airlines have banned their pilots from staying up late to watch World Cup football matches for safety reasons.

"Watching the World Cup will affect work and safety," China Southern Airlines, the country's largest carrier in terms of fleet, said in a notice to its employees.

China Southern is focusing on preventing the risks of pilot fatigue and drinking problems that may result from watching the games, the notice said.

– China Daily/Asia News Network

A sudden medical crisis

Need time off from work to watch the World Cup? If you're in China, no problem. Online stores there are providing fake doctor's notes — even extensive falsified medical records — to get you days of sick leave so you can enjoy your favorite teams.

– Frank Langfitt, NPR

Loving soccer in the Silicon Valley

A handful of top tech companies are not only allowing their employees to catch the action but also encouraging it. On the West Coast, in Silicon Valley, firms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Zynga, Facebook, Nvidia and Evernote have been hosting on-site World Cup viewing parties.

– Derek Loosvelt, on the professional development website Vault.com.

Soccer fever epidemic runs through bay area workplaces 06/25/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  5. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.