Managing the World Cup Distraction

Everyone’s come into work a bit later than usual. Everyone’s left work a bit earlier than usual. Has everyone all of a sudden become a bit more efficient than usual?

Nope. The opposite if anything. The World Cup has started and people’s jobs have all of a sudden taken on secondary importance. Yet, in-house lawyer are tasked with ensuring that work in their department gets done, and, in terms of the legal aspects, are pressed with dealing with any employment disputes that may arise following reduced effort and hours.

Of course, many companies will take a flexible approach to this problem – CEOs and GCs will, more often than not, be among those wanting to shuffle away to the nearest pub. But, the corporate world waits for no one, and the World Cup going on does not preclude serious business in it. Indeed, major corporates sponsoring or facilitating the World Cup itself will be busy at work during this World Cup, ensuring that maximum value is attained from their significant investments.

The World Cup does also provide companies with a good HR opportunity as well though – fostering a collective experience among workers watching important games during the tournament together as a team. The matches mostly take place after work, and the 3 am climaxes for the later night-time matches would hardly be that daunting for many in the corporate or legal world, so there is an argument that many should be able to work normally without much distraction anyway. In fact, it should be of broader concern that these ‘after-hours’ World Cup matches are seen as having an effect on work productivity at all, because doesn’t that seem to imply some sort of imbalance in regard to work-life balance?

The other option is the in-office, work as you watch approach, which works well for most World Cup matches not involving England, or any of the title favourites (i.e. sweepstake/betting interests). Working during England matches is largely avoided, and many games involving the likes of Brazil, Argentina or Germany might be too distracting also. Take, for instance, Spain vs Holland last week, no one in their right mind would have been able to work through that. Yet, Ecuador vs Switzerland, as decent a match as that was, is far less likely to stop you from working completely – you could easily do some mundane, admin-y type of work with that particular match on in the background, on a spare screen, or on TV screens around the office. Ensure you have a TV License though – in-house lawyers should know that you are required to have a license to watch any live form of a broadcasted show, whether that be online, on TV or on your phone.

There are definitely ways of enjoying the football while working in the early evenings, while coffee has always been there to help you after a late night. The World Cup has arrived and it looks to a particularly entertaining rendition, but it doesn’t have to completely stop you from getting some vital work done.

About William Barns-Graham

William is the content manager and head of communications at GC Research Club. He is a professional journalist, researcher and strategist. He has worked at GC Research Club since February 2013 and has rapidly become a distinguished voice in the in-house legal blogging community, writing on Lexis Nexis and interviewing leading legal thinkers and writers, in house lawyers and CEOs within the legal tech world. He has also coordinated the GCRC Sports Panel series.
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