By Mark F. Kluger and William H. Healey
Leave it to the lawyers to put a negative spin on such a fun national sporting event as the Super Bowl. But everyone’s good at something and our strength is finding the not-so-silver lining in almost anything. That’s what we do.
This year, it looks like the big game will cost employers even more in lost productivity than it did last year. According to Challenger Gray and Christmas’ annual Super Bowl survey, the 2018 game will cost employers $296 million for every 10 minutes of unproductive work time spent doing the post-mortem or a combined $1.7 billion (with a “b”) for employees who are either an hour late or spend an hour chatting about the game. Last year, Challenger estimated only a $290 million loss for every 10 minutes of wasted time. Inflation!
What will these chatty folks be talking about on Monday other than work? Interestingly, according to an Office Pulse survey, 32% of those asked said they’d likely be discussing the commercials, while only 29% plan to talk about the game itself. A surprisingly low 14% expect to chat about the half-time show, unless there’s another wardrobe malfunction, in which case, we recommend having your HR SWAT team standing by with your sexual harassment policy in hand.
Keep in mind, Challenger Gray’s $1.7 billion predicted loss is only for those employees who drag their groggy, hung-over selves to work. About 60% of the estimated 111.3 million viewers this year are employed. According to Challenger Gray, if this year is consistent with prior years, it is likely that 16.5 million of those workers will call out with the bowl flu. That level of absence will come with a $3 billion lost productivity price tag. Keep in mind, however, that is only about 10% of the workforce and a parallel Office Pulse survey showed that only 11% of white collar employees said they would not show up on Monday. What happened to the work hard part of work hard/play hard?
As for last year’s online campaign and effort by Kraft Heinz to have Congress declare the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday, it seems to have crashed and burned with only 29% of employees surveyed in favor. Smunday may be dead.
Just in case you thought your workforce would be back to full strength and focus next week, sorry but the Olympic opening ceremonies are on February 9th and March Madness is right around the corner. There’s always April.