Sporting summer of Wimbledon, the Ashes and the golf Open could cost Britain millions in lost productivity

Lynsey Barber
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Wimbledon fans were on the edge of their seats, but perhaps not their office chairs (Source: Getty)

Not only do businesses have to contend with the summer sunshine and soaring temperatures distracting people from their computer screens, but a summer of high-profile sporting events is set to cost the UK millions of pounds in lost productivity.

Tennis, cricket and golf have occupied sports fans this summer, at a cost of at least £100m to the UK economy, according to research by JLT Employee Benefits, through what they deem "questionable" sick days.

Wimbledon is the most costly event of the year, with an estimated loss of £43.3m, followed by the Ashes at £24.9m and the golf Open at £14.8m.

Read more: Why your highest-paid workers are the least reliable during the summer

The research, which took into account TV viewing data, average income and absence rates of five per cent, as well as just the events occupying the working week, estimated this figure could be even higher if hangovers, sleep deprivation and presenteeism are taken into account.

“While it is almost impossible to provide more than an estimate on the total cost to the UK economy of so many people losing a day, an afternoon or 20 minutes here and there throughout the day to entertainment, it is clear that there is an impact and this should be recognised by employers," said JLT's Andrew Drake, head of flexible benefits.

Read more: These are the sectors that need summer workers the most

"Some may raise an eyebrow at the absenteeism that happens to coincide with major sporting events, [but] those employers that are able to engage constructively with their staff to offer a flexible approach to work will almost inevitably be impacted less severely.”

An early win by the England cricket team against Australia not only came as a pleasant surprise to lovers of the game, but also saved a potential loss of around £2.5m since they were free to return to work the next day.

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