NHL playoffs can be a distraction around the workplace

NHL fans around the office might take some time out of their day to discuss past and future matchups. Francois Lacasse/ Getty Images

TORONTO – With four Canadian teams in the 2013 NHL playoffs, employers could find productivity around the workplace a little short-handed.

Whether it’s the NHL playoffs, the World Cup, or Super Bowl, sporting events can pose a challenge for employers concerned about workplace productivity.

“Without a shadow of a doubt it will cause a distraction at work,” said Kosta Papoulias, an associate producer with “People will be reading online, looking at scores, checking out injury reports. I’m guilty of it myself from time to time.”

Although fans won’t be watching the games at work, there will be no shortage of hockey coverage during the work day, on-air and online.

“Radio stations will be going all day talking about hockey and how a playoff series is shaping up,” said Papoulias.

Story continues below advertisement

U.S. outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. released  the results of a survey ahead of the 2013 NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball tournament (March Madness), which estimated lost worker productivity at $134 million in just the first two days of the tournament.

The NHL playoffs last for almost two months and games take place in the evening; depending on the time zone, and how many periods of overtime, games can wrap up in the wee hours of the night.

“When the games are later people will be getting in a 2:00am,” said Papoulias, who adds that a late game and too many beers might lead to people stumbling into work late or not going in to work at all.

However, the impact around the playoffs isn’t entirely negative and can actually help build better relationships in the work place says Dr. David Weiss, author of the book Leadership-Driven HR.

“The community building around a common conversation, like the playoffs or any social event, is actually a positive for the company,” said Weiss. “When people have a common conversation it helps build better relationships.”

Employers in Montreal and Ottawa may experience some reductions in productivity Friday, as the Senators and Habs face off tonight in NHL playoff action.

Sponsored content