Super Bowl Absenteeism: Next Year, Schedule the Day Off

Super Bowl Monday, or Black Out Bowl Monday or Beyonce Bowl Monday, is likely to see hours of wasted time, as workers nationwide discuss the unusual, if not incredibly entertaining, contest between the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick and the Baltimore Ravens, with MVP Joe Flacco. The blackout, the source of which is still under investigation by Entergy New Orleans which produces power to the stadium, was followed by a complete momentum swing in San Francisco’s favor but didn’t stop Baltimore from winning Super Bowl XLVII. Employees and management alike will have plenty to discuss…if they come in to the office.

Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 saw the most viewers of any American event with 111.3 million, according to Sports Illustrated and Nielsen, and Nielsen expects this year to have as many if not more viewers as last year’s contest.[UPDATE: viewership was slightly down to 108 million.] So many people watch the Super Bowl, and have perhaps too good of a time doing it, that a petition has been started on WhiteHouse.gov to declare the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday.

Indeed, Super Bowl Monday is one of the top days for absenteeism, according to John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Absenteeism is difficult to measure, but could cost employers as much as 36 percent of their payrolls each year, according to a 2008 Mercer study “The Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences.” A 2005 Ciridian Institute study found that in any typical workplace, absenteeism rates range from 5 percent to 10 percent, with the greatest amount occurring in health related fields, known for long hours and stress.

Despite the inherent dangers of absenteeism for workplaces, the impact of the Super Bowl should be embraced. The discussion of the game builds camaraderie and morale, and should not be suppressed. Perhaps employers can let slide someone who comes in a little late. However, employers will probably be wary of those workers who skip out on work with unplanned absences, especially in those businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, and hospitals, that rely on shift work. For those that can, utilize technologies that let you work remotely, stay in touch with your bosses, employees, or customers, and next year, schedule the day off.

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