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Combating Super Bowl Absenteeism

For months now, Super Bowl 50 has been dominating the media landscape. Between speculation on which teams will make it to the final showdown, commercials for game-day party supplies and, of course, promos for the landmark sports event itself, it seems like it’s all anyone can talk about. And now that we’re less than a week away from the big day, it’s about to get a lot worse.

But we’re more interested in what’s going to happen the day after Super Bowl Sunday.

According to Inc. Magazine, last year an estimated 1.5 million Americans didn’t show up for work on the day after the Super Bowl. Assuming that each of those people were supposed to have worked an eight-hour shift that day, that means that employers lost roughly 12 million hours of productivity during the same, single day. Add to that the estimated 4.4 million workers who came in late, and you’ve got yourself a pretty massive headache if you’re an employer. That’s why we’ve christened this day as “Not-So-Super Bowl Monday.”

So what can you, as an employer, do to minimize your expected productivity losses due to absenteeism on Not-So-Super Bowl Monday?

Well, the most obvious and least likely option is to close down your office and give all of your employees the day off. This is, of course, a pretty extreme course of action, and not one that just any business could go with, unless they have had correspondingly extreme rates of absenteeism on the day after the Super Bowl in the past.

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The other end of that extreme spectrum would be to make that Monday a mandatory work day, and not allow any of your employees to call in sick on this day or even request the day off in advance. However, these kinds of “blackout” days on a company’s schedule aren’t always popular amongst employees, and often don’t allow for the flexibility an employee may need in the event that they really are sick or have a family emergency.

Or you could choose to allow your employees to work from home on this day, either for all of the day or just until lunch. This would likely work best in a company that already has flexible work arrangement policies in place, however, and not be ideal for business that need their employees to be onsite or out in the field to get work done or assist customers.

Alternatively, you could forego a formal attendance policy on this day altogether, and instead focus on making your office a fun place to be on the Monday after the Super Bowl. You could, for instance, cater in breakfast or lunch for all the employees who come in that day, or, if that’s not feasible for your office, encourage your employees to participate in an office-wide potluck lunch or breakfast. You could also allow employees to wear the colors or jerseys of their favorite NFL teams, or relax your office’s strict professional dress code to allow employees to wear jeans. When you put the focus on making your office atmosphere more enjoyable or festive on this day, you not only see lower rates of absenteeism, but you might even see higher levels of productivity because your employees are excited and happy to be at work.

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3 responses to “Combating Super Bowl Absenteeism”

  1. The Pontificator says:

    Here’s a better idea: A policy stating that absent employees must furnish a doctor’s note in order to come back to work.

    No doctor’s note? Too bad. Find a job where such laying-out is tolerated.

    There are MILLIONS of unemployed people in this country who would gladly take the place of someone who can’t balance their work and social lives esp. when alcohol is involved.

    • G&A Partners says:

      Employers do have the right to create and enforce policies that ask employees to provide a doctor’s note to verify that an absence was due to an illness (as long as those requests don’t include information protected by HIPAA – for more information, check out our post all about HIPAA). Companies should be wary of implementing overly harsh sick leave policies, however, as they can lead to high rates of presenteeism, which can wind up costing employers more than absenteeism. To learn more about the costs of presenteeism and tips for designing effective sick leave policies, check out our “Presenteeism vs. Productivity” post.

  2. JulieKeync says:

    Good post! I read your blog often and you always post excellent content. I posted this article on Facebook and my followers like it. Thanks for writing this!

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