Should rugby fever grip the nation during the upcoming Rugby World Cup, productivity could take a huge slump. But internet traffic could be headed for a boom period, as office slackers spend their days catching up on the latest 'action' (kick/clap/catch/kick/grunt).
Indeed, in an early contender for most spurious press release of the month, security vendor Marshal reckons that posh people watching fat blokes rub up against each other could cost British businesses more than £461 million this month.
Here's the science bit: Marshal claims that 10 percent of employed Britons will spend half an hour of each working day watching coverage of matches or browsing the web for updates on scores. I believe this is technically known as a 'guestimate'.
And if one in 10 of the UK's 29 million employed people - earning an average hourly wage of £14.42 - spend 30 minutes a day catching up on the Rugby World Cup for the 22 working days that rugby is played, the result will be more than 31 million hours of lost productivity. Clearly, this is bad news for employers - even the employers of technology journalists (losing an hour of my time occasionally boosts productivity).
But waddaya know? Marshal has the perfect solution.
"Employers need to set and enforce policies on the acceptable use of the internet. Companies can control productivity and bandwidth consumption issues by implementing policies that limit internet access to certain sites to lunch time, and before and after working hours," says, Michael Clifford, Marshal's VP EMEA.
Sound advice. Here comes the sales-pitch bit: Marshal provides an internet-management solution called WebMarshal that enables administrators to enforce Internet Acceptable Use Policies.
So if you want to force the galley slaves to produce more, you can cut off their access to the internet. And the phone, daylight and the outside world. And perhaps get a man with a drum and a whip.
Failing that, accept that some people are always going to waste some time, and inspire your staff by introducing them to a proper sport like Rugby League.