Work-Sport Balance in the Office

Work Smart

World championship skiing as a team event in the office

The skiing world championship delights sports fans but is a headache for IT and HR management. Occupational psychologists recommend using this major event as an opportunity to strengthen team culture within the company.

Jörg Rottweiler,

While the skiing world championship 2017 delights sports fans for two weeks and live streaming portals report record traffic figures – many HR and IT managers are walking through the office red-faced with frustration as they work out how to get a handle on sport-loving employees. As a survey shows, there is no panacea for this. The range of solutions ranges from great freedom to blocking – such as in major banks, the SBB and in many municipal and cantonal administrative offices. For example: “TV and video streams are blocked on the proxies of the city of Zurich for capacity reasons with only a few exceptions such as for communications staff,” explains Martin Otzenberger, Communications Manager, Organisation and IT, Zurich.

Networks at the limit

It's understandable. What could happen if users overdo it with streaming could be seen on 23 January 2014 when the networks of the St. Gallen cantonal administration and federal government nearly collapsed during an Australian Open match featuring Stan Wawrinka.

Despite this, the Federal Office for IT and Telecommunications is not planning on blocking streaming during the skiing world championship. “We'll monitor the load on the internet connections and intervene if the traffic load is impairing work. Otherwise the Federal Office for IT and Telecommunications issues no rules on Internet surfing. That is left to the individual administration units,” explains Sonja Uhlmann-Haenni, Director of Managerial Staff and Media Spokesperson at the Federal Office for IT and Telecommunications.

Public screening in the office: The legal situation

For public screenings in a private setting, it is sufficient if the private TV reception is registered with Billag Ltd.
A copyright fee is due outside of such private settings, for example in the office. This is regarded as having been paid if the company is registered with Billag Ltd for commercial TV reception and the screen diagonal is a maximum of three metres. Companies only intending to make such a screen available for the skiing world championship can enjoy the events live and legally with the public screening package from Swisscom.

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“We don't make any restrictions, we simply appeal to common sense. This has proven to work in the past.”

Daniel Piazza, Director of Company Communications (Central Swiss Power Stations)

Advantage for sporty superiors

Many companies such as Central Swiss Power Stations take a “sporty” approach to the skiing world championships. Daniel Piazza, Director of Company Communications: “We don't make any restrictions, we simply appeal to common sense. This has proven to work in the past.”

PwC Switzerland goes one step further. The company has enjoyed great success with its streaming infrastructure that is primarily used for internal communications and enables the simultaneous distribution of audio-visual communications to all 3,000 employees at 15 locations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Claudia Sauter, Head of PR & Communications: “It's taken on an exciting, encouraging life of its own. Many teams and entire locations organise public screenings for these communications and this helps boost team spirit.”

Carpe diem

Work psychologists know this effect. Prohibitions cause a lot of frustration and are difficult to implement – anybody who wants to follow the world championship can do so on their own smartphone. Instead public screenings promote internal networking, motivation and loyalty among employees. Therefore it can be worth using the skiing world championship 2017 as a test lab and finding out if public screening in your company aids team spirit. There has never been a better opportunity. As most decisions are taken between 12:00 and 14:00, the possible loss of working time is not too drastic. And the copyright fees for public screenings in the workplace are also not too high.

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