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March Madness: Driving workers to distraction

A new study by Spherion Corp., a recruiting and staffing firm, has found that nearly half of all workers say their employer has no policy on office pools.

Nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) have participated

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A new study by Spherion Corp., a recruiting and staffing firm, has found that nearly half of all workers say their employer has no policy on office pools.

Nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) have participated in an office pool and nearly one quarter (23 percent) have watched or followed sports events on the computer while at work, according to the latest Spherion Workplace Snapshot survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Employer policy may be a loose ball, however, with half of U.S. workers (50 percent) saying their employer does not have a policy regarding office pools, and 41 percent reporting they do not know or are not sure.

The survey also found that 10 percent of U.S. workers have called in sick to watch or attend, or as a result of watching or attending, a sports event-with men twice as likely as women to have done so (14 percent vs. seven percent). Men are also twice as likely (30 percent vs. 14 percent) to have watched or followed sports events on the computer while at work, and more men participate in office pools than women (55 percent vs. 43 percent).

"Considering these survey findings, and with March Madness in full swing, U.S. companies could really take a hit in terms of productivity," said Nancy Halverson, vice president of talent management for Spherion. "However, it's also a concern that nearly 91 percent of U.S. workers say either their employer doesn't have a policy regarding office pools or they aren't sure."

Halverson says this should be a tip-off for employers who do not want to condone or encourage such pools at work. "Some employers may not be concerned about office pools. But, for those who are apprehensive about potential productivity losses or distractions that can result from office pools, the first step in sidelining the practice is to clearly communicate the company's policy about it."

Source: Spherion.com