With the FIFA World Cup kicking off today, international football managers will be fine-tuning their starting elevens and excitement levels will be building among football fans worldwide. Yet for business leaders, this has been the day they have been dreading, as staff productivity levels are set to plummet.
In 2010, the Chartered Management Institute estimated that lower working levels during the World Cup in South Africa would cost UK businesses up to £1 billion (around US$592,000), with half of working men and nearly a quarter of working women watching the football during office hours. This time around it's estimated that the World Cup could cost the UK economy up to £4 billion (around US$2.3 billion).
It's therefore only natural that business leaders are concerned about employees either calling in sick or being distracted - even if the vast majority of games will be played outside of regular working hours. To allay these fears, businesses must ensure they are more flexible with their work practices to help employees stay connected and remain productive.
To enable staff to 'work-from-home' effectively and securely, businesses must have the right technology, procedures, and workflow systems in place.
Our research found that less than a quarter of organisations (23%) currently provision secure file sharing and collaboration applications for employees. Businesses must consider providing tools that enable staff to access, share, and collaborate on documents whenever and wherever they need to, from any device.
Demand for file sharing and collaboration
Conversely, with this flexibility comes the inherent concern of data security. Our research shows nearly three quarters of workers (72%) use free file sharing services without IT authorisation.
Although IT groups should enable employees to work remotely, they should also act as guardians of their data. It's vital that they address the need for secure file sharing and collaboration, to maintain control of corporate content and reduce the risk of data loss. Unless IT in their role as the 'data guardian' addresses this demand, businesses worldwide could be at risk of costly security breaches.
Businesses should see the World Cup as an opportunity. Offering secure remote working capabilities through enterprise file sharing and collaboration applications will not only improve productivity and business agility in the long-term but also enable employees to work securely from anywhere.
It's this level of flexibility that will show employees that they are valued and trusted and encourage them to complete their work on time, while getting to enjoy the football.
- Barrie Hadfield is the Founder and CTO at Workshare