Special Report

The Worst Countries to Stay Focused at Work During the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event on the planet, and in the most soccer-obsessed nations, watching national teams play often takes precedence over getting work done. The tournament lasts for a little less than a month, and fans must wait four more years for the next. For many fans, this means watching as much as they can, while they can, no matter the hour.

The cup has teams from all permanently inhabited continents and therefore fans watching from across the full spectrum of time zones. Normally, sporting events are scheduled outside of standard work hours, but Monday through Friday, it’s always the workday somewhere in the world.

Luckily for fans, and to the chagrin of their employers, the increase in work-from-home and the proliferation of streaming services have made it easier to catch matches during working hours. Those at home, free of management supervision, can easily throw on matches in the background while they work – or pretend to work. (Whether or not the World Cup is on, these are the states where interest in working from home is rising the fastest.)

The increase in streaming services also means that it is much easier for people to watch the matches from their place of work, or anywhere else, on phones, tablets, and computers.  

There will have been a total of 64 matches played during this World Cup at eight different stadiums. To accommodate all this soccer, they’re scheduled throughout the day. Even host nation Qatar has 22 hours of matches played during its work week. (These are the World Cups with the highest attendance per game.)

Click here to see the worst countries to stay focused at work during the World Cup.

Click here to see the methodology.

Teams from the Americas have the most matches scheduled during their nations’ workdays, with nearly 70 hours of soccer amid working hours in the easternmost South American nations. During the group stage, match start times ranged between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Brasilia Time – in the Americas’ easternmost time zone.  

East Asia and Oceania were the only areas with zero matches during work hours. Those in southeastern Australia are eight hours ahead of Qatar and have to stay up late or wake up very early to catch many of the games. Japan and Korea are both six hours ahead of Qatar and are in a similar situation.

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