Why Millions Of Workers Will Call Out Monday
This could cost employers an estimated $4.4 billion loss in productivity!
The Super Bowl could sideline millions of Americans on Monday.
An estimated 17.2 million people will miss work the day after the Patriots face the Rams during Super Bowl LIII — the largest-ever anticipated day of Super Bowl-related absenteeism since by The Workforce Institute at Kronos began tracking this in 2005. The think tank’s annual “Super Bowl fever survey” released on Thursday queried 1,107 employed U.S. adults about their Super Bowl Monday plans, and found that 11% planned to stay home. (It then extrapolated that percentage to the total population of 156.9 million employed Americans counted in the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report to come up with the 17.2 million figure.)
Job search site Monster.com also reported on Wednesday that 12% of its surveyed candidates plan to take Monday as a “sick” day, with 9% admitting that they have called out sick after previous Super Bowls. Employers told Monster that more than one in 10 of their employees tend to call out sick the day after the big game. About 7.8 million workers in the Kronos report said they are taking a pre-approved day off and 12.5 million still plan to work remotely, however, while 4.7 million will call out sick.
“I can confidently say that getting to work on Super Bowl Monday has been incredibly tough in the past, which is why I generally take off in advance,” Peter McManus, 30, from Westchester, N.Y. told Moneyish. McManus, who works in PR and marketing, has an annual tradition of joining 15 college friends at a house in the Poconos for Super Bowl weekend. “I’ll take Monday to drive home (and) take a number of client calls,” he said. “I have a coworker covering my core responsibilities, and I told her that I owe her any Monday she wants.”
Lou, 35, “a diehard football fan” who declined to give his last name, also told Moneyish that he took Monday off because, “I have made that mistake [going to work the morning after the game] way too many times.” He called out sick last year, in fact, but noted that “half of Philly called out sick,” since the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFL championship in 2018.
But Lou’s got a better game plan this year; he’s working a couple of extra hours every day this week to make up for the work he’ll miss on Monday. “You’re usually hungover, you have a headache, you’re dehydrated, and not much is getting done — so you might as well take off and get paid, if you have that luxury,” he said. “And my company is very good with giving people their days (off) as long as you give a little notice.”
After all, research suggests that those still clocking in probably won’t be at the top of their game, anyway. The Workforce Institute data estimates that approximately 3.1 million employees will come to work late, and 6.3 million will leave work early.
Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, told Moneyish that the strong job market may have emboldened employees to take the day off — or to think that they can come in late or call out at the last minute without punishment. “Worker confidence that bending the rules a little bit is not as likely to cost them their job is probably part of it,” she said. “We know the viewership of the Super Bowl has expanded [ratings are up 2% from last year, stemming the audience decline of the past couple of years] so that may be part of it, too.”
But she noted that there’s a clear divide between those who have the privilege of missing work on Monday, and those who don’t. After all, 25% of the country’s private-sector workers don’t get any paid time off, and only 31% of part-time workers have paid sick days. And upper management has much more flexibility. “More than a third (36%) of more senior-level managers in the survey said they were more likely to take the day off or call in sick, versus 20% of employees who are not in a management position,” said Maroney. “And 45% of younger employees ages 18 to 34 said they are more likely to have anxiety about going to work the Monday after the Super Bowl than any other Sunday during the year.”
Michael, 28, a Tulsa accountant who declined to give his last name, is already dreading work on Monday. “It’s just kind of a buzzkill,” he told Moneyish, adding that he wished Monday could just be declared a national holiday. This would enable him to “enjoy the time with friends, without worrying about having to go into work the next day … (which is) pretty rough; just low motivation to get anything done.” (In fact, Kraft Heinz called for making Super Bowl Monday, or “Smunday,” a holiday in 2017, and gave thousands of its U.S. employees that day off.)
And that post-game drain gets expensive. Executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates that Super Bowl-related distractions and absences could cost employers up to $4.4 billion this year. “If all of the workers who watch the Super Bowl spend just one hour of their work day discussing the game or come in one hour late, the productivity losses could hit $1.7 billion,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. in his report. “This is on top of the $2.6 billion in productivity losses from people choosing to stay home from work on Monday.”
Super Bowl fever has spread across the globe. Josh Corbett, a criminal prosecutor in Australia, had to take Monday off in order to actually watch the game, since he’s 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so the game airs at 10 a.m. the next day his time. And for the past four years, he’s rented out the top floor of a private bar with 30 friends; they pay $130 AUD (about $94 USD) for bottomless beer, wine and spirits for six hours, as well as “American” dishes like hot wings, chili fries and chili dogs. He estimates the bar earns $4,000 to $5,000 off of them watching the game — so that’s one business still making bank on “Smunday,” anyway.
“It’s a big day, and with Australians not being particularly shy of having a drink, it’s seen as a bit of a fun way to mix it up, as we look forward to sipping on our first beer by about 9:30 a.m.,” he told Moneyish, adding that he’s also taken Tuesday off as a precaution.
“Given that we start drinking so early, we usually finish pretty early as well … so, by the time the 9-to-5 grind starts up again the next day, you’ve slept it off and don’t have any problems functioning,” he said. “However, I will say that this is the first year that I’ve taken the day after the game off, as well, simply becoming a victim of age and recovery time. I didn’t want to take the risk of feeling awful the next day and going into work, as most lawyers/trial attorneys would tell you that our jobs are not particularly compatible with hangovers.”