Working Americans Say They’ll Resist Temptation of Olympic Distraction

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Raleigh, NC – July 26, 2012 – The largest sporting event in the world will broadcast non-stop across televisions, web pages and radio waves this summer – but an overwhelming majority of American workers say they will forgo the temptation to follow live action from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

According to the results of a national poll of working Americans commissioned by Workplace Options, a leading international provider of employee benefit programs and work-life services, and conducted by Public Policy Polling, 84 percent of respondents say they do not plan on following the London Olympics during the work day.

”That is an incredible majority that reflects some of the ongoing economic uncertainty,“ said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer at Workplace Options. ”Americans are still looking for job security, and the overwhelming sentiment is that they are not going to let potential distractions like the Olympics affect productivity.“

”But for employers, this is an interesting piece of information,“ Debnam added. ”The next two weeks may present an opportunity to build some good will amongst employees.“

According to the survey results:

  • One third (33 percent) of respondents reported that they have access to TVs for employee use throughout the work day
  • 21 percent said their employer allows them to watch important sporting events, speeches, news or ceremonies during work hours
  • However, 64 percent of workers believe that watching TV negatively impacts work performance or productivity

”The Olympics are always a huge source of national pride, and some of the marquis events are scheduled to take place during traditional work hours,“ Debnam said. ”If employers can find a way to build some good will by allowing employees to take a short break by watching an anticipated race or event, it may be a small investment that will serve them well in the long term.“

Millennials and Multimedia

One of the poll‘s most surprising results came from millennial workers – those between the ages of 18 and 29. Among millennials, 38 percent said that watching TV or streaming video increases productivity, compared to just 14 percent of respondents overall.

”We‘ve seen time and time again that younger workers report a greater ability to multi-task than workers of other age groups,“ Debnam said. ”Some do work differently than other generations and can be more adept at integrating multimedia technology productively into the work day, but in general, millennials are just as prone to workplace distractions as any other age group.“

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, May 17-19, 2012. The survey polled 552 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%.

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