By Lalaa Comrie, ITWC Social Media Marketing Manager

Welcome to ITWC’s July 2018 community slideshow! Every month we ask leaders in the Canadian technology industry about a general life topic as a fun way to know the community a little better. In honour of the World Cup taking place in Russia, we decided to ask tech leaders across Canada:

“How do you balance your employees’ desire to watch a major sporting event with your company’s usual workload?”

While no predictions were made, it was great to see that the World Cup has brought so many people together which solidifies the saying that #SoccerisLife!

Read on for answers from Intel Canada, SOTI, Trend Micro and more. We’d love to hear your thoughts, use the hashtag #CommunityQuestion and join the conversation.


Carl Rodrigues, President and CEO of  SOTI Inc. 

“Sports play an important role in SOTI’s culture, and as an avid sports fan myself, I think events like FIFA are a great way to bring our global offices together. Our multinational workforce means that we have fans of many of the teams, so there are flags and jerseys all over. We’re showing the games in our offices worldwide with screens set up in our common areas and high speed WIFI for streaming. The key is to make downtime fun and engaging for employees, creating an entertaining environment so casual and passionate fans alike can join the festivities.”


Marcia Sequeira, Country Manager, Trend Micro

“As a global company, Trend Micro has employees from almost every country represented in the World Cup, and so of course we encourage our employees to come together and watch – after all it only comes around every four years! Trenders (what we call ourselves) are passionate about soccer and often make time to watch at work; most offices are equipped with televisions/digital screens in the breakroom or lunchroom and it can get rowdy depending on the game! Coming together like this is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues, especially from different departments. In Canada we have four offices – Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary – and so this helps fuel team-building, collaboration and friendly competition! Overall, Trend Micro believes in working hard, but also finding that balance and enjoying your time at work.”

Steve Astorino – Vice President of Development, Hybrid Cloud, z Analytics and  IBM Canada Lab Director

“The IBM Canada Lab in Markham is the largest software development organization in Canada and so we have a lot of very smart and dedicated people working here, many of whom are big fans of the World Cup. We have shown every game we could and posted the schedule, so people knew when and where each game was playing. Since we have people from many different backgrounds at the Lab, there have been plenty of people cheering for each team. It has been a fantastic team builder for all of us. One of the challenges for a large workplace like ours is that not everyone gets a chance to meet each other. It has been a great way for people to come together for a time and enjoy the spirit of the World Cup. Many choose to bring their computers down to our large marketplace and watch it together. Plus, Italy didn’t make it this year – so people have delighted in reminding me of that.”


John Reid, CEO, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)

“Mobility computing and the cloud generally are the ultimate enablers of work flexibility. I can simultaneously watch the World Cup and cut, paste and like to all our social media networks. And when a video call comes in, I can talk about the soccer game and then move on to the need for Canadian tax reform. Married to a woman from England, I know who I want to win the World Cup. And for Canada? I want us to win the race for first place in innovation and productivity rankings. A flexible approach to work is a key part of that!

Deanna Thomson, National Director, Channel Sales for Dell EMC Canada

“There are not many sporting events as popular,  from a global scale, as the World Cup. We live in a world of constant work/life tension – and I use the word tension on purpose as ‘balance’ is only possible from a long-term perspective. Short-term, we do what we have to and fit in our work and personal needs, but it isn’t always balanced. However, in-between our critical deadlines we always can offer additional value to our employees and embrace memorable events like the World Cup. The energy around the office during global events like this is extremely effective for team building and collaboration, refueling our ability to get work done in an environment that feels more balanced with our personal needs. As perfectly said by FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Abby Wambach: ‘I’ve never scored a goal in my life without getting a pass from someone.”


Denis Gaudreault, Country Manager at Intel Canada 

“Our employees work hard all the time, and we appreciate their dedication. If they need to take a break to enjoy the excitement of the World Cup and cheer on their teams alongside their colleagues, they can do so in the many common areas in our offices. We’re confident that they’ll bring that positive energy back to their work.”


Scott Armstrong, Partner, Brainrider 

“Empowerment and accountability is Brainrider’s approach. Our team is made up of high-energy, professional, millennials who work hard every day to deliver better marketing results for their clients. As part of our value proposition for these employees Brainrider offers a comfortable, engaged work environment where performance is measured using client deliverables and client results. This allows our team to manage their schedules and priorities to fit in the world-cup, charitable time, extra-long weekends or any other passion as they see fit.”



Justin Thouin, CEO of LowestRates.ca

“We view popular events like the World Cup as an opportunity for team members to get together and enjoy the spectacle and each other’s company. In fact, the France/Belgium semi-final is on the big screen in our boardroom right now! We trust that team members understand their priorities and commitments and allow them the flexibility to manage their workloads around personal priorities, whether those are watching the World Cup, or an important appointment. We objectively evaluate team members based on their results in relation to their targets, and trust that they know best how to manage their time to deliver these results.”



Tyler Handley, CEO of Inkbox

“Allowing your employees to watch the World Cup at work is a tough call. Our strategy has been to allow our employees to stream one game per day in the background, while tackling their less-involved tasks like responding to quick emails, tedious spreadsheet work, etc. We let everyone watch the final game though!”



Dan Holowack, CEO of CrowdRiff

“We have a diverse team at CrowdRiff, many of whom are football lovers. Since we have big display screens around the office, we keep them on during World Cup with the volume turned down during the day so others can still work uninterrupted in our open office. So far we’ve managed to strike the right balance between supporting our favourite teams and focusing on getting things done! Of course now when I hear cheering it could either mean we won a new customer or a goal was scored. Either way it keeps the energy high.”



Previous articleCisco Live! 2018 at a glance
Next articleTop 11 IT certifications that pay the big bucks in 2018

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here