Olympics could cost Australian businesses $186m in lost productivity

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Olympics could cost Australian businesses $186m in lost productivity

Public interest in the Beijing Olympics could hit staff productivity to the tune of $186 million during the two-week event, according to e-mail and Internet content security provider, Marshal.

Marshal’s predictions join those of Secure Computing, who last week warned iTnews of Olympics-related security threats.

This year, with events taking place throughout the day in a similar time zone and medals handed out on a regular basis, Australians hopeful of a sizable haul are expected to keep a regular check on news websites, results tickers and live internet video streaming.

And with events kicking off at 11am each day, this could be bad news for employers, who will feel the hit on productivity resulting from a lack of work focus.

Marshal’s predictions of the potential $186 million cost of lost productivity are based on statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that estimate there to be 10.7 people employed at an average hourly wage of $31.65.

If one in 10 of this pool of workers spends 30 minutes a day catching up on the Olympics for the 10 working days that it spans, the results will be more than 5.8 million hours of lost productivity, the vendor predicts.

Olympics-related data could also congest a business’ IT network as websites are flooded and videos are downloaded or streamed, eating up valuable bandwidth, vendors warn.

Yahoo!7 announced earlier this month that it will be streaming live video from Beijing and NBCOlympics.com will also be offering live and free video streaming including 4400 hours of on-demand and 2200 hours of live programming.

“Employers need to strike a careful balance over Internet access and usage, to control productivity and bandwidth whilst maintaining staff morale,” said Oscar Marquez, head technical consultant APAC, Marshal.

“By implementing policies that limit Internet access to certain sites to lunch time, and before and after working hours, companies are able to effectively achieve this," he said.

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