The Olympics foster a tremendous sense of national pride, and it is inevitable that many employees will be viewing some of the events online during work time. Some of the key events are scheduled to take place during American work hours, which makes employers uneasy about productivity loss during popular competitions.
In addition to the drop in productivity, employers are also concerned about the stress the corporate networks will endure with increasing bandwidth usage. NBC is making all the events available over its streaming channel putting a serious strain on office networks. Recently L.A. City Hall urged employees to stop online viewing of the Olympics, for fear of a municipal computer meltdown.
The productivity concern has been consistently raised with other sporting events as well. For example, the NCAA men’s basketball championship (March Madness) estimated a hit to business of $175 million for just the first two days of the tournament.
Employers may seek the option of blocking the Internet and allowing access to authorized sites only, using Internet filtering and blocking solutions, such as BrowseControl. Alternatively some organizations may opt not to restrict online access, but rather implement an Internet monitoring solution such as BrowseReporter.
Some organizations are allowing employees to take short breaks during highly popular competitions to view the events on a common TV. This small investment may improve morale and productivity.