The new research, undertaken by behavioural science experts with over 1,000 cricket fans across the UK, reveals that the disruption caused by switching from work to check the score, known as ‘context switching’, means that it is actually more productive to have the match on while working.
If employers want their teams to better focus, the findings prove it’s time to drop the boundaries and allow employees to watch the men’s and women’s Ashes this summer – be it on TV, mobile or iPad*.
More than half (52%) of respondents say they plan to follow The Ashes via live updates and every time a cricket fan ‘context switches’ to another tab or app, reports suggest it can take nine and a half minutes for them to get back to a productive workflow, with further research suggesting that it can take up to 23 minutes to return to your original task.
On average, cricket fans check the score 10 times a day (3.5 minutes per time), with over 18% reporting to check multiple times an hour. This means that fans spend on average 30 minutes checking the score per day.
When combined with the impact of ‘context switching’, it means a whopping 90 minutes to two hours productive work time could be saved per fan per day by allowing them to watch live. This amounts to almost an entire session of a Test match each day, and up to 50 hours across the series!
Office attendance is also set to reduce by 13% during Ashes Tests, including a 30% reduction in those who go in every day. But according to the research, employers who let their teams watch the Ashes can expect to see no drop at all, with attendances set to stay at usual levels.
With every ball from the men’s and women’s series being shown side-by-side in the UK for the first time, and an unprecedented 36 days of Ashes cricket being broadcast on Sky Sports in June and July, there’s only one option for bosses who want to keep their teams engaged and productive…as allowing their teams to watch the cricket could mean the difference between cricket heaven and context switching hell.
Chartered Psychologist Dr Simon Moore said: “Context switching is our tendency to shift from one unrelated task to another – whether this is checking an email, Teams message, or in this instance, checking cricket updates on a new tab or app.
“While too much context switching can hamper productivity, other research shows that having small, targeted breaks throughout the day instead – for instance when we notice a major event in the day’s play is happening – can be better for both focus and wellbeing.”
Sky Sports Director of Cricket, Bryan Henderson, said: “When we talk about the power of live sport, we often talk about connection and entertainment – that’s what makes it so special. But to now also have proof that having the cricket on can boost productivity is music to my ears. That’s why we are calling on bosses across the UK to embrace the power of the Ashes and let their employees enjoy the benefits of watching the action live!”
Every match of the men’s and women’s Ashes will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports and NOW from June 16.