THE LAWYERS WEEKLY
June 17, 2011 | 21
During the Vancouver 2010 Winter
Games Paige Backman could not bear to
miss certain televised events.
Of course many of those events took place
during working hours. And that left the law-
yer and former national team water polo
player with her own Olympic challenge:
How to enjoy the Games without allowing
her work to suffer.
“When you are talking about the Olym-
pics, they are big moments,” said Back-
man, a partner with Aird & Berlis LLP in
Toronto. “If something is on during the
work day, you kind of have to pick what
you are going to watch.”
For Backman, 39, that could mean a
longer workday as she tried to book meet-
ings around the must-see events like long-
track speed skating (Backman and some co-
workers sponsored Gold medal winner
Lucas Makowsky), hockey and skiing.
Her work schedule could not always
accommodate the Games’ schedule, but for
those moments, “PVR is fantastic,” she said.
Backman said she was lucky there were
TVs set up in her office so she could slip
away to watch throughout the day.
She also benefitted from firm manage-
ment that had a relaxed attitude to employ-
ees watching some of the three-week long
event, so long as they were getting their
Other firm managers spoken to agreed
that while big televised events— whether it
be the World Cup, the NHL playoffs or the
Royal Wedding—present challenges, they
are also an opportunity for boosting morale
and bringing staff together.
“We decided when there are big events
like (the World Cup), people are actually
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY YUTI HU AND TAMMY LEUNG, HOCKEY BY ELISE AMENDOLA / THE CANADIAN PRESS, BUSINESS MAN AND TV BY DREAMSTIME.COM
looking at them anyway in one capacity or
the other,” said Georgia Rennick, Director of
Human Resources for Aird & Berlis, where
staff took part in a Cup-related competition
organized by the firm.
“It does give people energy and enthusi-
asm and it is a way of connecting people
together who might not otherwise have
gotten that chance to really know each
other,” Rennick said.
However, it seems not every manager
feels sports-related activities in the office are
a good thing.
A recent survey of senior executives and
employees about the recent sporting distrac-
tion for office workers in Canada — the Stan-
ley Cup playoffs—found 25 per cent, or one
in four senior executives surveyed thought
there was no place for playoffs-related activ-
ities in the workplace.
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