Super Blues for Employers on Super Bowl Monday; Losses Run Into Billions

Absent, distracted, and disengaged employees on Super Bowl Monday could cost U.S. employers billions in lost productivity.

The National Football Conference champion San Francisco 49ers will play against the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, February 3, 2020. And millions of Americans will be glued to their TV screens watching the game, not counting the 65,000 that will be at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

According to the latest consumer spending data from NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2020 Super Bowl survey, nearly 194 million adults have plans for the big game. That is a significant number by any standards. Super Bowl viewers average around 105 million generally.

Millions likely to ditch work on Super Bowl Monday

Presumably, a large number of the same number of adults are not going to be at work on Super Bowl Monday, or maybe plan to put in some hours, go late or work from home.

Super bowl Mondays are a thing. Monday blues afflict office-going people on this particular day of the year every year, and many people call in sick from work or just ghost.

On average, the office absenteeism costs $4 billion loss to the US employers on this day.

For employees who do head to work, a major part of the next day is spent in being distracted, tired and centered around discussions of the previous day’s game. This kind of inattention at work could reach $1.7 billion in losses, just from employees spending an hour of their workday talking about the big game or coming in an hour late, says employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Super Bowl Monday

Kronos Incorporated, the research and consulting firm, does an in-depth study of Super Bowl-related absenteeism every year and it has released this year’s figures too based on a survey of 1,148 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

It says 17.5 million people will miss work on the day after Super Bowl. This will make Monday, Feb. 3, the largest-ever anticipated day of Super Bowl-related absenteeism since 2005, the year Kronos started doing such surveys. The previous high was 17.2 million in 2018.

A quarter of the surveyed employees confirmed that they have missed work on a Super Bowl Monday previously. An estimated 11 million will either not show up or wait till the last minute to inform of their leave this year.

Is it time for a Super Bowl Holiday?

A 40 per cent agreed that the Monday after Super Bowl should be a holiday. There are already campaigns and hashtags trending about Super Bowl extended weekend holidays.

Kraft Heinz gave the Super Bowl Monday off to its salaried employees in 2017 and 2018 and even filed a petition to make Super Bowl Monday a national holiday.

On the employers’ part, they continue to operate as normal despite massive absenteeism phenomena in the previous years. The focus is only on reactive measures like warnings or memos or very rarely firing.

Organizations that prepare ahead for such large-scale absenteeism usually face lesser people taking off from work and more employee engagement. Employees are open about their plans for the day and are ready to compensate for it.

Rescheduling important tasks, filling in with flexible times and lateral distribution of workload are some of the things that can work for employers and employees both.

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Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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