They think work’s all over: It is now!

Millions are planning to tune into games when they are streamed live but experts warn this could play havoc by slowing down – or in extreme cases – crashing office computer systems.

However, a survey of 2,000 UK workers by Eclipse, an Internet Services Provider for small businesses and home users, found that 58 per cent had given no thought to the possible consequences on their own workplace IT networks.

Clodagh Murphy, director of Eclipse, said: “UK workers clearly want to watch World Cup matches live on their PCs. However, we advise all businesses to be mindful about the impact this could have on their day-to-day business operations. Streamed content uses a lot of bandwidth and this could seriously impact the performance of their business internet connection.”

“It could take much longer to download important files or use business-critical applications such as e-commerce sites, email or online backup. It might even lead to office computer systems crashing,” she said.

More than half those polled – 56 per cent – did not know whether their organisation had any restrictions or guidelines in place to stop them accessing sites to watch the tournament.

Thirty seven per cent thought that watching World Cup matches would not affect their work productivity and a quarter thought there would be no impact on the speed of applications if all employees watched games online at work via online streaming sites.

However, Murphy issued a note of caution saying there could be a potentially disruptive surge in broadband traffic, especially on Wednesday, June 23, when England plays Slovenia at 3pm. She added: “We expect huge interest in that match as it is England’s only group game that happens during the working day. It will be interesting to see how it impacts networks and connectivity so at Eclipse we have made provision to ensure we have enough capacity for all our customers to be able to enjoy the matches.”

“Companies need to be wary about a potential drain on employee productivity and the efficiency of their IT systems that the streaming of the World Cup could cause. We suggest that all organisations develop robust guidelines on office computer use to avoid network congestion and slow performance of key applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint and also online data backup processes,” she added.

Do you have a policy in place at your office or do you block streaming TV sites?