6 in 10 Canadians watch sports at work: report

Which employee group is most likely to be checking out the games?

6 in 10 Canadians watch sports at work: report

Whether your employees are fans of Toronto FC or the Edmonton Elks, they are likely to be checking in on their favorite sports at work, according to a recent report.

More than six in 10 (63%) of Canadians check sports results or sports news while on the clock, according to a recent report from radio network The Grueling Truth.

This is most common among those working in the following fields:

  • sales (80%)
  • IT (73%)
  • engineering (72%)
  • hospitality/food services (71%)
  • legal (68%)
  • construction (67%)
  • education (66%)
  • finance, manufacturing/production, transport/logistics (64%)

How often and why do people like watching professional sports at work?

Over a third (34%) of Canadian workers check sports results at work once a week, while about two in five (39%) do this two to three times each week, finds The Grueling Truth’s survey of 2,127 working Canadians in December 2023.

Over one in 10 do this four to five times a week (14%) or daily (13%).

However, workers spend 49.8 minutes, on average, per week to check on sports results.

And 13% have even called in sick or considered doing so to watch or attend a sports game during work.

Last year, UKG found in a survey that about half of workers predicted they would miss work because they would watch the FIFA Women's World Cup games.

But why do workers check sports results or sports news at work?

Keeping up with their favourite team (59%) is the top response from Canadians, according to THe Grueling Truth. In their survey, the most popular teams among Canadians are Toronto FC (79%), CF Montreal and the Toronto Raptors (74%).

Other reasons for workers to check on sports results are to address boredom (24%), to release stress (9%) and to socialize (6%).

Should workers be penalized for watching sports at work?

Despite the amount of time spent on checking in on sports updates, 74% of survey respondents claim it has no impact on their productivity at work, according to The Grueling Truth. 

Meanwhile, 15% say it enhances their productivity. However, 11% say it hurts their productivity, including 1% who claim it significantly hinders their productivity.

Previously one worker was fired after filing a sick leave to watch a European football league game between England and Denmark.

Her boss, however, saw her on the TV celebrating a goal. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Nina Farooqi admitted that she knew it was unlikely her company would give her the day off – so she opted to “pull a sickie” instead.

In 2021, Sarah Altemus of ActivTrak noted that employers can “harness the benefits of the potential distractions of major sporting events” by doing the following:

  • clarifying expectations in advance
  • encouraging teams to schedule their work accordingly to avoid competing deadlines and uneven distribution of work to non-sports fans
  • providing viewing opportunities in a communal area that won’t disrupt others who don’t share the interest or enthusiasm, or creating virtual team-building events
  • endorsing alternative, inclusive opportunities to create engagement for all employees

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