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Work Marathon Interrupted by Olympics Online

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in Human Resources

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad are in full swing, and that means a certain number of your employees are watching on the web. According to a survey, 12% of workers say they plan to watch some of the Beijing Olympics at work.

More time would probably be a-wasting if it weren’t for the convenient time-zone difference between Beijing and the U.S. The East Coast is a neat 12 hours behind Beijing, meaning most web viewers here are showing up at work about the time events in China are winding down. On the West Coast, a few night owls may be tuning into live coverage on the web at the end of the work day.’s survey found younger workers are more interested in watching the games while on the clock than their older counterparts. Sixteen percent of workers aged 18-24 say they will catch some part of the Olympics while working, compared to 13% of workers aged 25- 34, 11% of workers in both age groups 35-44 and 45-54, and 9% of workers 55 and older.

This year, is covering 25 sports on the web, with about 2,200 hours of live streaming video. That could put a strain on your servers.

If you’re worried that gold-medal fever is sapping workplace productivity and taking up bandwidth, you might want to—quickly!—implement a policy on internet usage.

What should be in your policy? At minimum, it should:

  • Inform employees that all communication equipment is the employer's business property and that employees have no expectation of privacy concerning its use.
  • State that the systems should be used for business purposes only.
  • Clarify your right and intention to monitor e-mail and Internet use.

If you’re willing to let slide a little web rooting, consider that employees might even learn a thing or two about achieving their goals by watching the Olympics online. The International Olympic Committee’s site offers a “Personal Trainer” section in which Olympians offer life lessons to be learned from sports.

Among the topics: How to improve concentration, overcome fear of failure, prepare for a challenge, handle stress and be an effective team member.

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