Archive for Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Global workplace productivity not a World Cup goal

July 6, 2010


— Told they couldn’t watch the World Cup on the job, Italian auto workers went on strike — conveniently, a half hour before game time. German companies set up office viewing areas to keep employees from defecting on game days.

Brazilian soccer fans at the central market in Sao Paulo watch on television as Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands celebrates his goal against Brazil during a World Cup quarterfinal soccer match last week.

Brazilian soccer fans at the central market in Sao Paulo watch on television as Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands celebrates his goal against Brazil during a World Cup quarterfinal soccer match last week.

And Brazil? Brazil basically shuts down when its team plays, with businesses and schools closed and elective surgery put off so people can be in front of a TV.

The soccer tournament is the world’s most watched sporting event, and the fact that it comes around only once every four years is probably fortunate for anyone trying to get some work done.

One study suggests the German economy, Europe’s largest, loses more than $8 billion in productivity, about 0.27 percent of gross domestic product, during the monthlong tournament. Surveys in Britain predict output losses there of $1.5 billion to $2.3 billion.

And that’s just two of the 214 countries and territories where the 2006 World Cup drew the cumulative viewership of 26 billion people. That’s a lot of eyes not on the job.

Some workplaces — particularly government ones — are strictly watching that employees aren’t rooting when they should be working. Italy’s Renato Brunetta, minister for public administration, even warned government workers ahead of the tournament: “Fun is one thing, work is another.”

Many other bosses seem only too happy to allow the World Cup into the workplace — perhaps because they share their subordinates’ football obsession. In the Netherlands, whose team knocked Brazil out in the quarterfinals, the entire country’s quitting time was unofficially moved forward to 1 p.m. on Friday so fans could watch the game.

Adam Gardner, a 31-year-old custodian at Britain’s Cambridge University, said his boss gave him permission to come in early and leave early to root for England — then headed out to watch the game himself.

“A lot of people did. The place was empty,” Gardner said.

German insurer Allianz SE set up viewing areas in its Munich offices for Germany’s match with Serbia and allowed all interested to watch it — as long as they punched out beforehand so they weren’t watching on company time. About 10 percent — 1,100 workers — took the company up on the offer.

Researchers at Germany’s Hohenheim University estimate that the average German will devote 15 minutes of work time daily to the World Cup through the tournament. That includes watching games, checking scores on the Internet and taking part in office betting pools.

The U.S. is not as swept by football fever as the rest of the world, but the time difference with South Africa means all matches are taking place during America’s normal work hours.

Nearly 15 million Americans tuned in to ABC for the team’s 2-1 loss to Ghana in extra time, with another 4.5 million watching on the Spanish-language Univision — making it the most-watched men’s World Cup game ever in the country.

The World Cup is the fourth-biggest “top productivity sapper” in the U.S., based on a nonscientific ranking of top sporting events carried out by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a workplace consultancy based in Chicago. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament ranked No. 1 and was followed by NFL fantasy football pools and the Super Bowl.

The World Cup is not exclusively an economic drain. Economists say it boosts consumer spending for things like fan paraphernalia, party supplies and bigger ticket items like wide-screen televisions.

Britain’s Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that despite productivity losses, there will be a net $2.43 billion short-run boost to that country’s GDP in June and July thanks to increased consumer expenditure and business spending on advertising.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

11 million were able to watch the World Cup because Bush/Cheney put them out of work. Probably not exactly what they would have chosen.

What the Reaganomics nuts were expecting is for americans to become "shop till you drop robots" to keep the economy going as they were scheduling the mass exodus of USA jobs to support the Chinese government.

But "shop till you drop" is wasteful and cannot be sustained. 16 million need jobs so how in the world can anyone say "go shop" . Remember that was one of first thoughts out of the mouth of GW during his 9/11/01 screw up. Forget 9/11/01 ever happened and go shop. Ohhhhh so shallow.

Then the Reaganomics nuts got relaxed with credit card debt to promote the "shop till you drop robots". That high interest rate rip off scheme. What the poor manipulated robots never realized was the greater portion of their payments WERE NOT being applied to the principle.... yep they were being financially raped.

Shopping for the most part is a waste of money. Most of us have more than we need including me.

I conclude:

  1. Tobacco taxes are good. Smoking has many adverse impacts on the human body thus increases the cost of medical insurance which provides the medical insurance industry one great big opportunity to increase YOUR insurance premiums = lose lose lose

  2. Bringing new cleaner energy sources online in communities throughout the USA is creating jobs and putting tax dollars back into USA communities.

  3. Borrowing money to create jobs and new economic growth will create jobs in other sectors = keeping dollars in the USA = win win win = good use of tax dollars.

  4. Since the previous government destroyed the economy and jobs it must the responsibility of the new government to restore the economy and jobs.

  5. Therefore MY government must somehow directly fund new opportunities.

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