Johannesburg - Workplace productivity in South Africa is expected to drop over the World Cup, with several matches to be played during office hours, Productivity SA warned on Tuesday.
"Workplace productivity is bound to be affected and employers should be concerned about the issue of employee absenteeism and the resulting productivity loss," senior researcher Motlatsi Gabaocwe said in a statement.
Productivity SA said the international research report Europe Talent found in 2006 that the World Cup could increase employee absenteeism, resulting in lost productivity.
During the European Championship in Portugal in 2004, tens of thousands of Dutch workers phoned in ill with the number of absentees rising 20% on days when the Dutch national side played.
"The actual level of absenteeism is likely to be higher due to post match celebrations or lack of sleep as fans may stay up late until the early hours of the mornings to watch matches," said Productivity SA.
"For business, this could translate into millions of man-hours of lost productivity."
Policy on World Cup-related absence
The economy was gathering momentum after last year's recession, job losses at the start of 2010 and recent strikes, said Productivity SA senior researcher Michael Ade.
"It is imperative that companies maintain and improve on productivity during the month long period of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament," he said.
Companies needed to implement measures which would both minimise the impact of productivity disruptions because of absenteeism and accommodate workers' desire to watch the games.
Productivity SA suggested that companies institute a clear policy on World Cup-related absence and the use of alcohol in the workplace, and encourage staff to take leave or time off to watch matches rather than being present at work but unproductive.
It advised that companies encourage team work and set measurable targets with time off to watch matches for those who met these, encourage business meetings via telephone conferencing or video calls, and encourage lift clubs to avoid traffic congestion and delays to and from work.
It also recommended that companies consider installing television sets in boardrooms or workshops and show selected, popular matches at work to prevent staff leaving the office for hours.