By Daniel Hunter

This year’s summer of sport will be extra special. The TV will provide a tantalisingly tempting selection of entertainment — but much of it will take place during business hours.

With Euro 2012, Wimbledon and - of course - the Olympics about to hit our screens, managers may be worrying about productivity and wondering how to ensure staff are aware of their workplace rules on TV watching. Many staff will be desperate to tune in to the live action in their favourite sport, and visitors may simply expect to be able to watch the top events.

To help businesses stay on track and avoid unnecessary last-minute disappointment for all concerned, TV Licensing has for the first time produced a handy guide to assist harmony in the workplace.

The TV Licensing guide on TV in the workplace, can be adapted to suit any location — whether viewing is allowed or not. It is designed to clarify for all those at work where, when and how staff can watch live TV at work.

Many of this summer’s sporting events are taking place between 8am and 7pm so could be a big draw for would-be workplace viewers. They include Euro 2012 games, Wimbledon matches, and - for example - at the Olympics:

3pm Monday 30 July Men’s Synchronised Platform Diving
(Tom Daley)

10am Friday 3 August Women’s Athletics opening event Heptathlon 100m hurdles
(Jessica Ennis)

10am Tuesday 7 August Men’s Athletics 200m first round
(Usain Bolt)
Cycling Men’s Keirin (Track Cycling)
(Sir Chris Hoy)

However, research indicates that while 66% of businesses provide internet access, only 12% allow staff to watch online.

A TV Licence is needed for watching or recording any programme as it is shown on television, so viewing sports at work will mean the business needs to be licensed to avoid risking breaking the law, a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

“This guide helps everybody in the workplace be clear about whether they can watch programmes as they are being shown on TV at work, however they watch," said Elly Button, of TV Licensing.

"We know that managers up and down the country will be thinking about whether they want to allow employees or visitors to watch. So we designed this simple guide for them to use to let staff and visitors know if the premises are licensed or not, and what their viewing policy is.

“We want to encourage businesses to get licensed in time for the summer of sport if people are going to viewing live TV in the workplace."

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Small firms across the country will be planning with their staff whether or not they will be watching the Games in the workplace. This guide provides clear advice on what viewing policies are in place for staff and visitors. It is a helpful tool for those staff that want to watch the sports this summer at work.”

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