Networking & Communications

Watching Sport at Work?

From Wimbledon and the World Cup and from cycling and Commonwealth Games, we’ve been spoilt for choice with sporting events this summer.

For sports fans, it was frustrating that the best matches took place during traditional working hours, but streaming TV services like the BBC’s iPlayer made it possible to catch every moment. TalkTalk Business wanted to see how much of an impact this had on workplaces, and how smart firms were helping staff enjoy the summer, without seeing productivity plummet.

We asked 2,000 full-time workers whether they had tuned in at work, and unsurprisingly six out of ten said they had. The volume and variety of devices being used to do so, however, is telling. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is now widespread: personal smartphones and tablets are almost as popular as traditional office gear, chosen by 32% and 27% respectively, compared to 35% for PCs and 33% for work-owned laptops. Some even said they would use a second screen, to be sure they wouldn’t miss a minute of the action.

There’s no way around it, if the majority of people in an office all stream high-quality video content at once, sometimes on two screens simultaneously, the added traffic will test a business’ network. Banning sport from the workplace altogether is a sure-fire way to demotivate people, but clearly some form of control is required.

Encouragingly, just 7% of respondents said sport was off limits in their office. While almost every employee said their organisation allows it, however, just 39% implement policies to cope with extra strain on the network. Around 11% of those surveyed said their bosses restrict viewing to outside of office hours; eight per cent said they screen key events for staff in the office.

Often, the best approach is to offer greater flexibility in terms of how, when and where staff work. More than one in five (22%) of our respondents requested flexible working hours; just under a third were allowed to work from home, and one in five were given remote server access.

High-profile televised events that fall within office hours are unavoidable, but they can be planned for. Bosses don’t have to be spoilsports to keep the network safe; through a combination of flexibility and policy, it’s possible to find a balance that works for everyone.

Charles Bligh is managing director of TalkTalk Business



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