HR and IT executives to clash over a summer of sport

Robert Half Technology-press release on HR and IT executives views over the 2012 London Olympics

  • 44% of European HR directors believe Olympic and/or Euro 2012 activities in the workplace will have a positive impact on their employees’ morale and motivation
  • Security/bandwidth and operational concerns are main reasons for IT directors to ban sporting events from work PCs

London, 23 May 2012 – This summer of sport is set to cause conflict between HR and IT executives, according to research by Robert Half Technology.  More than four in 10 (41%) UK HR directors believe Olympic and/or Euro-2012 activities, such as watching game footage from PCs or engaging in friendly competitions in the office, have a positive impact on employee morale compared to 44% of European managers.   

However, 53% of UK and 57% of European IT executives have stated that they will not allow employees to view Olympic and/or Euro 2012 coverage from their computers at work. Concerned by the potential impact viewing major sporting events have on business infrastructure and operations,  IT executives cite their main reasons for restricting access to coverage as productivity, security and network capacity.  

More than 1,200 UK and European HR Directors were asked, “Do you feel Olympic and/or Euro 2012 activities in the workplace will have a positive or negative impact on employee morale and motivation?” 

Their responses:



Very positive

14%  11%

Somewhat positive

27% 33%

No impact

44% 42%

Somewhat negative

11% 5%

Very negative


Don’t know





Survey does not add to 100 due to rounding

While most HR directors have a positive or neutral view of the effect Olympic and/or Euro 2012 activities will have in the workplace, 14% of UK and 7% of European leaders feel there will be a negative impact, possibly the result of lower productivity levels or additional workloads from people taking annual leave. This might also echo feelings amongst other departmental leaders in the organisation, particularly technology executives.

350 UK and European CIOs/CTOs were asked, “For what reasons will you not allow employees to view Olympic and/or Euro 2012 coverage from their computers at work?”  

Their responses:




Employee productivity





Network capacity

30% 28%


4% 4%

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half Technology said: “We’re fortunate to have such an exciting and diverse summer of sport coming up, with Olympic, Euro 2012 and Wimbledon events providing ample opportunity to demonstrate our British pride while cheering on our favourite athletes.  It also gives companies the opportunity to host events in the office with the aim of building morale, motivation and teamwork, key considerations in making an organisation a great place to work.  There needs to be balance, however, with pragmatic IT directors sounding a word of caution about the outcomes of watching events on employee productivity, network bandwidth and security. 

“One of the important elements of any IT director’s or manager’s role is to keep systems up and running – despite what may be happening in the world of sport. As with all perks, it’s important to balance the positive impact on employee morale against the overall needs of the business.”

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and