Today's post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

This coming Sunday's 2021 Super Bowl, like so much of life these days, is going to be unlike anything we've ever experienced. Played in a stadium filled only to about one third it's capacity and largely by vaccinated healthcare workers, it's another example of those annual events we think of as permanent and inevitable that this Pandemic has shown us are anything but.

I, for one, am glad that the show will go on in some capacity. I'm a lifelong Eagles fan, so don't have strong feelings about the Brady/Mahomes showdown, but I know I'll enjoy watching the game and the ads that accompany it each year which will also, understandably, look quite different from past years.

Another Super Bowl tradition we are keeping alive this year is our annual Workforce Institute Super Bowl survey about how many people are planning to be absent from work the day after The Super Bowl. This is a survey that we have run periodically since The Workforce Institute was formed in 2007 (it actually started two years before that by Kronos). This survey was always meant to be a fun way (speculating about how many people would overdo it on wings and frosty beverages and decide to call into work the next day) to elevate an important issue: unplanned absenteeism.

While some unplanned absences - when an employer isn't given advance notice that an employee will be out - are unavoidable (real sick days, many personal days), they can be much more disruptive and costly to organizations than planned absences, so the idea is to avoid them when possible. This means making sure that employees feel comfortable taking time off when they want to or need to, and there's a lot organizations can do to foster this: open communication between managers and employees, a clear time off policy, and creating a culture where employees feel empowered and encouraged to take care of their own mental and physical health before anything else.

So, what did this year's survey show?

When it comes to the issue of unplanned absenteeism:

New this year (and hopefully for this year only!), we looked at the issue of dangers around getting together to watch the game in person during a pandemic:

Bottom line? I'd encourage employers to take this week to communicate openly and honestly with employees about their Super Bowl plans. Let your employees know that you recognize how hard they have been working and what a stressful time this has been for everyone. If they want to take Monday off, help them make that happen if at all possible. Encourage them to join the majority of folks from our survey who plan to celebrate safely - at home with their household or outdoors in a socially-distanced way with friends. Most importantly, make sure they know they can be honest with you about what they actually do, so that you can ensure that risky behavior off the clock will not put coworkers, customers, or communities at risk when they're back on the clock.

Will you plan to take the Monday after the Super Bowl off? What do you think employers should do to encourage transparency with employees when it comes to taking time off? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Today's post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute.

Every year about this time, Super Bowl fever starts to grip the nation. Here in Massachusetts - or Patriots Nation as it's known locally - fans are so sure the Patriots will be in the big game that it feels like a big failure when they are not. Even for somebody like me who doesn't otherwise follow football, the big game is exciting. Getting together to watch the game (or half time show and commercials for me) is a fun ritual. Everything about the Super Bowl is excessive, including the party snacks, drinks, and lost sleep

Lots of people here and around the country will miss work due to the after affects of their Sunday evening revelry. Our newest research tells us that an estimated 17.2 million American workers say they may not go to work the Monday after Super Bowl LIII. Nearly 22 million employees may go into work late, leave early, or work remotely/from home on Monday. There are a number of additional interesting nuggets in this research:

Perhaps you feel this absence challenge is inevitable for employers, but there are things you can do to mitigate the impact of the pigskin on your work environment. Below, we've collected some of our favorite advice and resources to help you manage that post-game slump, beginning long before the game. Read on and enjoy the Big Game on Sunday!

Here comes Super Bowl LII.  The New England Patriots will meet the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis on February 4th.  And if our prior research continues to hold true, millions of people will call in sick on Monday morning.   This research revealed that  one in 10 U.S. workers said they might not go to work on Monday because of the Super Bowl - a potential loss of 16.5 million people on Monday morning - and another 7.5 million said they may show up late to work.  Whether they are victims of too many nachos, or angst over the outcome of the game, their absence will be a problem for their employers.

We know that at lot of these folks won't have given their employers a heads up in advance of an early morning message on Monday. These unplanned absences have more negative effects on organizations compared to planned absences, including creating additional workload for others, disrupting the work of co-workers, and increasing stress.  Not to mention hard costs like overtime that may need to be incurred to maintain productivity.

I asked our board members Sharlyn Lauby and John Hollon to join me in a conversation about how organizations can manage through the potential workplace disruptions of major public events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics.  Sharlyn is the President of ITM Group Inc., and is well-known for her well-read blog, HR Bartender. John Hollon is an editor at, an adjunct professor in the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, and a well-known blogger in his own right at The Skeptical Guy.

Big shared events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics are not just productivity sapping distractions and drivers of employee absence.  They can present a great opportunity for organizations to encourage camaraderie and friendly competition in the workplace.

Listen in on our conversation below to learn from these two pros how to reduce the risk of unplanned absences while capitalizing on the opportunity to boost your employee experience:

Play a recording of our conversation here:

Photo by David Straight on Unsplash

tom-brady.jpgWe've just published the results of a survey we did this week of 1430 full time adult workers regarding the likelihood that the Super Bowl will impact their attendance at work on Monday.  According to our survey, 3% or about 1.5 million workers are likely to call in sick while another 4.4 million are likely to arrive late after having celebrated the big game.

Super Bowl-related absences could be particularly striking for organizations with a high population of Gen X and Gen Y employees, as the majority of the employed adults who say they may call in sick the day after the Super Bowl are males and females between the ages of 18-34 years (4 percent and 3 percent, respectively).   Does that mean that the boomers are more responsible, or just that they can't stay awake long enough on a "school night" to impact their ability to go to work the next day?

According to the Wall Steet Journal today, "U.S. employment unexpectedly tumbled last month for the first time in more than four years, fueling worries that the U.S. economy, which already limped into 2008, might soften further or even slip into recession in coming months. Nonfarm payrolls fell 17,000 in January, the Labor Department said Friday, the first drop since August 2003, when payrolls slid 42,000."   Super Bowl or not, those workers thinking about blowing off  Monday might want to think twice about the message they could be sending to employers who may be managing to tighter workforce budgets.

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