Get Your Head in the Game

March 2, 2017

More Than One in Four Canadian Companies Celebrate Sporting Events as Valuable Distraction for Workers

Toronto, ON. -- For some companies, celebrating the basketball playoffs with coworkers is a slam dunk. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of Canadian senior managers interviewed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said their employer organizes activities tied to sporting events like March Madness. Among those whose firms do get into the games, the top benefit is offering employees a distraction from the daily grind (60 per cent), followed by showing that the company offers a healthy mix of work and play (14 per cent).

Even professionals whose organizations aren’t willing to play ball may not be stuck on the sidelines: Two in five Canadian employees (40 per cent) reported celebrating sports events with office buddies.

“Popular sporting or entertainment events create an opportunity for companies to build a positive office culture, boost morale and bring employees together,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Organizing celebrations or friendly competitions can go a long way in preventing staff burnout and enhancing productivity.”

Additional findings:

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of employees said they would most like to enjoy sports events at work by watching games with colleagues.
  • About three in five workers (59 per cent) believe celebrating sporting events in the office can boost employee happiness.
  • Spending too much time talking sports (23 per cent) was identified as the most distracting or annoying coworker behaviour during a tournament or sports season. Calling in sick or making excuses for skipping work the day after (22 per cent) came in second.
  • Only 10 per cent of employees feel they’re less productive at work the day after a big game. More than four in five (83 per cent) said sporting events have no impact on their performance. 

OfficeTeam highlights four types of coworkers you might encounter during sporting playoffs and tips for dealing with them:

  1. The Rookie doesn’t follow the playbook regarding employee breaks and internet use during the tournament. On game day, this person arrives with a jersey, face paint and giant foam finger in tow. 

Advice: Encourage him or her to read up on company policies to find out what activities are acceptable.

  1. The Commentator spends more time talking sports than completing assignments.

Advice: Take quick breaks to chat about tournament highlights with this colleague, if allowed, but don’t let your work suffer. If you’re the boss and he or she wants to take time off to enjoy the playoffs, mention it’d be helpful to know as far in advance as possible so you can reassign projects or bring in temporary professionals.  

  1. The Poor Sport takes competition too far, throwing jabs at anyone who doesn’t root for his or her favourite team.  

Advice: Remind this coworker it’s just a game. Don’t let friendly banter get out of hand, regardless of allegiances.

  1. The Benchwarmer doesn’t know a thing about “The Big Dance” or “bracket busters.” This spoilsport passes on all the hoopla.  

Advice: If colleagues are celebrating by watching games together or having an informal contest, invite this person to join. Make it easy for non-sports fans to participate and have fun.

About the Research

The surveys of senior managers and workers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees, and more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at for career and management advice.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]