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The cost of a Summer of sport and skiving

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  • Research from has found 82 percent of employees have spent work time following sporting events this summer; with the average person using up over five working days doing so.
  • 74 percent of respondents said that they’d been keeping up with The Olympics when they should have been working.
  • 54 percent of employers made no concessions to allow workers to follow the sport more easily.

The Olympics was comfortably the most popular, with 74 percent of respondents saying they’d been keeping up with it when they should have been working. Next most popular was Wimbledon (54 percent), football’s European Championships (52 percent), England Cricket (23 percent) and the Open Golf (19 percent). The overall cost to the economy is calculated to be £17.8 billion in wasted working hours: The European Championships was the most costly (due to a longer tournament), with £6 billion worth of working hours lost. This was followed by the Olympics (£5.6 billion), Wimbledon (£3.2 billion), England Cricket (£2.7 billion) and the Open Golf (£199 million). 

Yet, employers have been reluctant to change their working policies: 54 percent made no concessions to allow workers to follow the sport more easily. Flexible working, a right for most workers, was only allowed by 22 percent of bosses, while 23 percent allowed sport on televisions and 12 percent relaxed their internet usage policies. Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at, said, “Us Brits are well known as a nation of sport lovers – unfortunately this summer it seems to have affected nearly everyone’s work.” 

“This is little surprise, when the majority of UK bosses have been inflexible, so many people are resorting to wasting work time to keep up with everything. It is particularly alarming that only 22 percent of people were allowed flexible working, despite it being a right for the majority of employees. We’d encourage bosses, when faced with similar events in the future, to introduce policies that allow staff to follow them legitimately; they might well find fewer employees are then covertly wasting time when they should be working.”

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