To say that I don’t care about organized sports is an extreme understatement. I live in the Boston area – heart of Red Sox Nation, the burrow of the Boston Bruins, the capitol of Celtics Pride. I don’t follow the games, the playoffs, or the players. My great-grandfather was a professional baseball player, but somehow that interest in pursuing the ineluctable satisfaction of a winning season failed to wind itself around my chromosomes.
I am, however, married to a diehard Celtics fan. In fact, when we married, he insisted I had to at least know the names of the starting five at the time (Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parrish, & Kevin McHale). He and his brother discuss the Celtics with a fervor that borders on obsession. And they are not alone. According to our recent global sports survey, there are a lot of people around the globe who’ll play hooky in order to watch a sporting event or to recover from watching a sporting event.
Similar to the global absence survey we did a few months ago, the responses reveal that China leads all surveyed regions with 58 percent admitting to have missed work to watch a sporting event on TV or attend one live, while in France only one percent answered yes. Other countries polled included India with 48 percent, the U.K. with 24 percent, Mexico with 21 percent, Australia with 19 percent, Canada with 13 percent, and the U.S. with 11 percent. Our conclusions about why this is so, and how to mitigate unplanned absence, are mirrored in the respondents’ suggestions about how employers can avoid unplanned absenteeism. The top answer in every region was to allow employees to work flexible hours – this tied for first place with allowing employees to work from home in India. Allowing employees to take unpaid leave and establishing a benefit like summer Fridays were the other options chosen most frequently in every region.