Trends & Insights

Summer Olympics Set to Bite into Worker Productivity |
$1B in lost productivity expected 

July 21, 2021 | By Nicholas Vitukevich | Senior Editor

summer olympics 2021

Trends & Insights

Summer Olympics Set to Bite into Worker Productivity | $1B in lost productivity expected 

July 21, 2021 | By Nicholas Vitukevich | Senior Editor

You might want to clear your calendar so you can see how Team USA does on the parallel bars. Or bump your morning meeting so you finally see what “sport climbing” is all about. The delayed Tokyo Games are finally here – and business professionals plan on watching to root on their home country at the Summer Olympics. That viewing is inevitably going to eat into worker productivity.  

In all, 60% of workers said they plan to watch the Summer Olympics this year, according to an Office Pulse study of 369 white-collar workers across the US.

Of that group of fervent fans who will either be watching highlights, live-streams or recorded replays, over half (51%) plan to watch the Summer Games during the workday.

Summer Olympics 2021

They’ll also be chatting with their colleagues about the latest Tokyo updates (52%). All that will result in nearly $1B in lost productivity for businesses.

Whether it’s due to pent-up enthusiasm after a year-long delay, patriotic passion or interest in the 33 different sports – the most disciplines of any Olympics ever – nearly a quarter (24%) of American workers said they’re more likely to watch the Olympics this year than in years past.   

How much time will you spend at work watching the Olympics?

Less than 1 hour: 41%
1-2 hours: 32%
2-4 hours: 20%
4+ hours: 8%

Other Insights Include:

  • People are most interested in the newly added Olympic sport of Surfing (33%), followed by Skateboarding (26%), and Karate (20%). Sport climbing also came in at 20% 

  • 47% of Americans said they prefer the Summer Olympics over the Winter Games; 35% like both equally  

  • When it comes to why they watch, 39% like the “display of skills,” 27% like the “competition” and 22% enjoy “rooting for my country”  

The Summer Games open on Friday, July 23 in Tokyo and run through Sunday, August 8.