World Cup to hit Arab world staff productivity

One in four employees in the Middle East plan to watch World Cup matches during working hours
The FIFA World Cup trophy is displayed during the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament final draw at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 1, 2017. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018 in 11 Russian cities. / AFP PHOTO / Alexander NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
By Jeremy Lawrence
Sun 10 Jun 2018 04:11 PM

A major productivity drop is expected during June and July due to the World Cup according to a new survey by online recruitment firm GulfTalent.

One in four employees in the Middle East plan to watch matches during working hours. According to the report, many senior executives plan to watch the games on company TV screens, while subordinates will live stream on their smartphones.

Some employees admitted that they plan to leave work early, take annual leave or call in sick, in order to watch the games.

The tournament, due to be played in Russia from 14 June to 15 July, will run each day between 2pm to 1am UAE time.

Interest in this year’s World Cup is running high across the region, as an unprecedented four Arab countries have qualified for the competition. The participation of Saudi Arabia has heightened Gulf interest, while Morocco and Tunisia will be joined by Egypt, whose star striker Mohamed Salah has captivated the region.

According to GulfTalent’s survey, 92 percent of employees in the region plan to watch at least some of the games, with 28 percent planning to watch some of the games during working hours. Roughly one third of that total expect to be given permission to do so, while a quarter said they will secretly live-stream the games.

A further source of productivity loss is late night game watching. Almost two-thirds of professionals surveyed said they will watch the late matches even if it meant sleeping late.

The threat to productivity is not confined to the Middle East. During the 2014 World Cup, a survey by employment law specialists ELAS put the potential cost to Britain’s employers at almost $5.6bn in lost productivity.

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Last Updated: Sun 10 Jun 2018 04:16 PM GST

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