Work slows in Los Angeles, elsewhere for Olympics

Following the Olympic Games at work? Turns out you're not alone.

For most, the Olympic Games represent a symbolic moment of global connection. For those trying to get work done this week at City Hall in Los Angeles, however, connection time was significantly slower.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Aug. 2, public employees tuning in to watch the Olympic Games have been clogging up City Hall's Internet network. On Monday morning alone, traffic spiked 20 percent. In response, Randi Levin, the City's CTO, penned this e-mail to employees:

"We are experiencing a high volume of traffic due to people watching the Olympics online. I respectfully request that you discontinue this as it is impacting city operations."

The news left a number of people incensed. "City employees aren't paid to watch the Olympics on their computers or TV," Councilman Dennis Zine told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. Councilwoman Jan Perry agreed. "We are going to stop this activity now," she said.

Clearly, however, the City of Los Angeles is not the only organization disrupted by the Olympic Games. According to, the games will cost U.S. businesses $650 million in lost productivity.

That said, even with things like the Olympics broadcast and Final Four pools absorbing work time, American workers remain the most productive in the world.

"Just counting work that's on the books," wrote Mother Jones in 2011, "Americans now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans."

Research bears this out. According to a 2012 survey by Good Technology, the average American puts in six weeks of unpaid overtime -- just by answering phone calls and e-mails at home.

[Los Angeles Times]

Photo: Eric Chan/Flickr

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