Major sporting events cause Australian workers to call in sick

09 August 2016
  • 87% of Australian Human Resources managers say it is likely that at least one of their employees will call in sick the day after a major sporting event
  • Australian employees are more likely than their international counterparts to call in sick after a big sports happening, according to their HR managers 
  • 42% say hosting company events to watch sporting events increases employee engagement and 40% say it improves employee motivation 

Australians are more likely to call in sick to work the day after a major sporting event than their international counterparts. According to independent research by specialist recruiter Robert Half, Australian companies are anticipating a potential increase in the number of workplace absences with the upcoming season of international sporting competitions. 

Almost nine in ten (87%) Australian Human Resources managers say it is likely that at least one of their employees will call in sick or make an excuse for skipping work the day after a major sporting event, with 22% calling it “very likely”. Australia is – together with New Zealand – at the top of the international list, followed by Brazil (84%), Chile (80%), Austria (78%), Germany (76%) and Switzerland (75%). The Netherlands (61%) is the country least likely to have their employees call in sick.

While many Australian companies appear concerned about employee absence being linked to sporting events, many are embracing such occasions and using them as an opportunity to engage and motivate employees. Just under half (42%) of Australian HR managers say hosting company events to watch major sporting competitions increases employee engagement, while 40% deem it to have a positive effect on motivation levels. Almost a third (31%) believe such company events increase employee loyalty. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Australians love their sport, however it’s important not to let the sporting season fever disrupt employee performance. While time differences might not always work in Australia’s advantage, workplace absences can place significant pressure on a company’s productivity levels.”

“As a compromise, companies are often looking to host company events to watch major sporting competitions. While watching sports during business hours can impact a company’s workplace productivity, organisations increasingly understand the added value of such events. Having an engaged and motivated workforce that recognises the importance of team spirit can have a significant influence on achieving business goals which ultimately impacts a company’s bottom line in a positive way.”

“Such international sporting competitions are also an opportunity for employers to show their flexibility towards employees. Allowing staff to come in a bit later or leave early so they can watch a game is an ideal way to position the company as an employer of choice,” David Jones added. 


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research firm, surveying 100 Human Resources managers in Australia and 1,575 HR managers worldwide. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

For more information                         

Gabrielle Nagy                                
Public Relations Manager, Robert Half Asia Pacific            
[email protected]
+61 2 8028 7751

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