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Here’s Your Defense When the Boss Catches You Watching the World Cup at Work

The World Cup is fast approaching its climax. And even people who typically don’t care about soccer are tuning in.

That’s frustrating for employers, since the games are airing in the middle of workday along the east coast, a by-product of the time change from Russia. (Spoiler alert: It’s going to be worse in 2026, when the matches are held here.) And it’s hard to be productive when you’re glued to the Serbia-Brazil match.

Most office watchers will try to do so subtly, viewing on their phone or perhaps in a small window on their desktop or laptop. And they’ll inevitably get busted by HR or a supervisor, likely when they cheer loudly for an unexpected goal. Productivity platform Hive, though, has their back.

The company has examined data from its users and says there are actually some notable productivity boosts tied to these games.

During the first half, it’s about what you’d expect—no one is getting work done. Productivity falls 61%, says the company. But at halftime, workers scramble to catch up, resulting in a 301% increase during that period.

The second half sees an even bigger productivity decrease, as things come down to the wire, but again … once the game is over, there’s a productivity bump of 79%.

“We could all waste time going crazy about the possible millions or billions of dollars lost to the World Cup, but now we can see very clearly that the workforce is finding ways to balance soccer fandom with productivity,” said John Furneaux, CEO and co-founder of Hive, in a statement. “Whether you have the World Cup playing in the office or not is up to you, but based on this data, I think the argument can be made for cutting everyone a little slack.”

The only exception? When Ronaldo is on the field. Productivity crashes then—and doesn’t bounce back. The good news for employers, though is Portugal doesn’t play again until Saturday.