Should bosses let employees watch the World Cup at work?

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Should bosses let employees watch the World Cup at work?

Andrew Caudwell is a passionate soccer fan who believes bosses should let their employees watch the FIFA World Cup during the work day.

"I'm biased, but it is the ultimate world's game. It brings everybody together," Caudwell told CBC's Ottawa Morning.

Caudwell works for Taekwondo Canada, one of several national sports organizations that operate out of the RA Centre in Ottawa.

It wasn't difficult to convince management there to show the World Cup on a projector screen, Caudwell said. The only condition was keeping the volume low.

"A lot of us can see it from where we're sitting, so you see a lot of heads turning, checking out the game every once in a while. There is actually a seating area right in front of the screen, so most lunches are spent hanging out right in front of it."

Watching those matches together helps create a friendlier work environment, Caudwell added.

"I'm meeting a lot of people I didn't expect in the office, like, 'Oh, you're a soccer fan? I didn't realize that,'  or, 'Oh, you're just getting into it now?'" 

He's also finding out about his colleagues' connections to some of the competing countries.

"We're an immigrant nation. I think it's amazing that we have such an amazing background of people that are in this country," he said.

Out of sight out of mind?

For those that aren't as fortunate to have the World Cup on at work, they are using their lunch and coffee breaks to take it in.

"Being at work all day I don't get the chance to watch the games, so I figured I'd take my lunch a bit later ... just to watch whatever games I can," said Sophia Barkhouse. Her late lunch allows her to watch the afternoon games that start at 2 p.m.

Games are shown in her office building's atrium. "I just discovered this yesterday," she said.

"I'll probably going to make a habit of it. I usually don't take lunch this late, but I guess you have to make sacrifices if you want to watch the game."

Cody Robertson's office does have the game on at the office, but in the break room.

"It's not like I'm going to spend my entire working day in the break room."

Robertson said that is probably a good thing. "I feel like my productivity would be absolutely shot."

Instead Robertson checks his phone for updates. But Barkhouse thinks that tactic could be more distracting than having it on in the background.

"I am able to know what's going on without having my eyes on it all the time, but when I'm not actually watching it I'm thinking about it."

More relaxed across the pond

James Blackmen — who is in Canada on vacation from England — says his work environment is a bit more relaxed during the World Cup.

"People probably would be ducking out of work or they might just have screens on."

If watching matches was banned from work, Blackmen doesn't think it would make a difference. 

"Even if you got rid of the Wi-Fi or something people would want to find someway to follow."

Barkhouse said she would love it if her office would show the game, " but I guess work is also the first priority."

For Caudwell though, having the World Cup on in the background doesn't keep him from completing his work.

"I'm glad my back is turned to [the screen] or I would not get any work done at all."

Some of his coworkers have even started coming into work early to catch some of the early matches, he said.

In fact, Caudwell said the World Cup would be an even greater distraction if it wasn't on at work.

"I'd probably be sneaking checks on the score on my cell phone ... I'd probably be streaming in the background — don't tell my boss."