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Olympic Record: Workplace Viewing Wastes $650 Million


Forget the narrow defeat suffered by the U.S. men’s swim team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay over the weekend. Or that Jordyn Wieber, America’s best hope for all-around gold in female gymnastics, failed to even qualify for the event.

When it comes to this Summer Olympics in London, the real loss may be felt much closer to home.

Productivity experts are predicting that this year’s games could result in a summer slowdown perhaps unlike any other in history, with millions of American workers devoting portions of their day to track and field instead of, say, tracking customer orders. The wasted time could result in a $650 million hit for U.S. companies, according to an estimate by Captivate Network, a digital media company.

Much of that loss will come from employees watching games during work hours on their computers or mobile devices. Some 12% of American workers said they plan on viewing the Olympics at the office, according to a survey commissioned by Captivate. A similar survey by Yahoo! Sports showed a figure as high as 43%. In addition, Yahoo! Sports found that 25% of workers planned to leave early to follow the games.

US swimmer Matthew Grevers (L) celebrates with compatriot Nick Thoman in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Either way, it amounts to a lot of goofing off. Compounding the problem for businesses: viewing by streaming — NBC is making all the events available over its streaming channel — taxes office networks by using up valuable bandwidth. In other words, even if workers aren’t opting to watch the preliminary rounds of Olympic badminton, their computers may be running slower because of the badminton buffs sitting next to them.

“It brings us back to the age-old question, ‘Why is the network so slow today?’” says Jim Melvin, chief executive officer of AppNeta, which specializes in helping companies monitor their networks. And when you add the slowdown situation to the mix, the Olympic hit becomes all the larger for companies. “I would say this is a billion-dollar event,” adds Melvin.

The productivity issue, of course, has come up before with sporting events. The NCAA men’s basketball championship — aka March Madness — is a frequently cited example (this year’s estimated hit to businesses: $175 million — for just the first two days of the tournament). Several analysts have also found fault with so-called productivity surveys, and warn against reading too much into calculations drawn from them.

But experts say the Olympics is in its own category — not only because it’s an event of global significance, but also because this year’s games are being held in a time zone that’s most conducive to daytime viewing in America. And regardless of what you make of these productivity surveys, the ability to easily stream the events, something not possible as recently as four years ago, raises the potential for more slacking on the job.

For business owners, minding the Olympic-viewing habits of their employees too closely may be a mistake, says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a leading outplacement firm. Instead, they should recognize that many of today’s workers are plenty productive when not at their cubicle, whether it’s checking emails on the run or completing projects at home. “If employees don’t get it done now, they’ll get it done later,” Challenger says.


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    • thank you for this post, I am a big fan of this internet site would like to proceed updated.

    • By WebOsPublisher

      Instructions for how to extract icons from EXE files in Linux.
      Extract Icons from EXE Files in Ubuntu Linux –
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      Extract Icons from EXE Files in Ubuntu LinuxPublished 2012-04-25
      As I sometimes use Windows programmes for testing cross-compatibility of projects, I end up adding iconless WINE shortcuts to my launcher but there is an easy way to extract icons from EXE files! I normally just hop onto Google Image Search and find a nice .PNG with transparency but here’s a quicker method:
      sudo apt-get install icoutils
      wrestool -x -t 14 source.exe > output.ico
      The above should result in a multi-layered file but it’s quicker and easier to open this proprietary Microsoft Windows .ICO in GIMP, select which icon you’d like to use then export it as a non-proprietary .PNG file to retain transparency.
      As they’re the sort of things I wouldn’t remember (or bother) to back-up, I’ve found it convenient to store all of my icons in a sub-directory of my Ubuntu One share so that they’re painlessly accessible on every computer or future installation.
      Posted in Linux, Software, WINE
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    • I want to say ipad really tifierrc, nice built quality, very sensitive touch screen,HD touch screen,wifi enabled. I bought one last month , my brother asked me to get the same one for him. But if you cannot afford it, an Apad is also a good choice, it’s only around $100, but with full function of ipad.

    • What do you have to smoke to come up with that number? I would love to see the formula. And what kind of robot even needs to calculate it?

      Who cares about lost productivity for two weeks? Is the world going to end because of it? Probably not. Are CEOs going to have to sell one of their planes because of it? Probably not. Are bosses going to downgrade their cars because of it? Probably not.

      And yes, I probably lost productivity writing this post. So what? Life is much more than work, business and money. Enjoy it. Goof off, leave work early, play with your children if you have them… don’t forget to be human.

    • Don’t consider $ 650,000,000 a waste in creating an image of competition of a nations workers. Very few events bring a nation together in socializing for the common good. This feeling is a boost in moral of a nation. Today’s idea of work and that is all we exist for is distorts the real meaning of life and happiness. Of course if all you are interested in is money and billions of dollars, then ya you would think this is a waste. But to the people that are really involved in the spirit of the Olympics it is not a waste. It is life at its best.

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