The war of the workplace - distracting dragon chat ban backed by 26%

With hit television series Game of Thrones (GOT)* about to air the season finale on Monday, the nation (and workplace) is in continuous talks of theories and predictions of how the biggest television event of the year will play out. 

With nearly six million UK viewers (via Sky Atlantic and online streams/downloads), equating to around a fifth of the UK working population, it’s clear that GOT discussions are happening in the workplace, whether we like it or not.

A poll of over 500 UK workers** carried out by the world’s leading recruiter, Randstad has revealed that a quarter would like to see GOT workplace discussions banned, due to hours of potential working time being lost to in-depth debates. British businesses lose £22bn each year due to loss of productivity, with disturbances from colleagues talking being the second most common cause of distraction - could a ban on hot topic conversations be the answer?

Sick days due to die-hard series fans are another reason the employer is taking a huge financial hit. For episode one, it was reported that 3.1 million were planning on calling in sick. That’s around a £334.3m loss to UK businesses paying out sick pay for those who decided to take the day off, according to average sick day costs by CEO today. This staggering statistic can only be expected to be a bigger hit to UK employers for the finale. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Just because employees may not be getting any work done during TV debates, that doesn’t necessarily mean they're not being productive. Collaborative conversations allow employees to build relationships with colleagues, and 89 percent said work relationships were important to their overall quality of life according to entrepreneur.com.

Graham Trevor, UK HR Director, says: "This topic has divided the nation, and workforce. If you’re a fan of the show, you may well have struggled to dodge spoilers while in the lunch queue at work.

Having common interests can unite colleagues but it's all about balance. Employers will be mindful of conversations negatively impacting productivity levels and not every colleague will be a fan of the show.”

There is still hope for the non fans. Dedicating just over one and a half working weeks (63.5 hours) can bring anyone up to speed for those that have unused annual leave to play with. 

Notes to editors
Randstad are in no way affiliated with the Game of Thrones franchise or HBO. 

Randstad.co.uk website poll:
Should employers ban GOT workplace discussions?

502 votes in total
Yes, hours are wasted discussing it (132 votes, 26%)
No, it's a great conversation starter (260 votes, 52%)
Maybe - it can be distracting (110 votes, 22%)