HR Strange But True!
April 19, 2007

Employees at your company don't have Sanjaya to kick around anymore. He was eliminated from the American Idol competition this week, but you probably knew that already, even if you don't watch the show. That's because American Idol is the most talked-about television program in the workplace, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the staffing firm Spherion.

Thirty-seven percent of workers cite American Idol as the TV program discussed most often in the workplace, up from 35 percent in 2006.

Twenty-one percent of respondents admit discussing Sanjaya's "pony hawk" or some other aspect of American Idol during company time, the survey found. Ten percent of workers say they have engaged in debates over the contestants' talent on company time.

While male and female respondents agree that American Idol was the TV show discussed most often at work, they disagree on what show came in second. Grey's Anatomy came in second among female respondents (28 percent). Among male respondents, 24 came in second (14 percent).

Women were more likely than men to admit discussing American Idol on company time (27 percent compared with 15 percent) and were more likely to admit debating contestants at work (12 percent compared with 9 percent).

While discussing TV shows at work can affect productivity, many workers say it has its benefits. Forty-four percent of workers say that talking about television at work increases office camaraderie.

Do the benefits of better camaraderie outweigh the losses in productivity? Some HR professionals on the HR Forum have been discussing the topic lately.

By the way, if you have never seen Sanjaya's pony hawk (a mohawk made out of pony tails) or are in need of a good chuckle, take a look at this video on

Source: Spherion

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