This Sunday is the Super Bowl, the most-watched sporting event in the US. For football fans, that often means getting together with friends to watch the game and celebrate or commiserate afterward, depending on whether your team won or lost. For employers, on the other hand, it means a productivity slump the next day, as employees call in “sick” Monday morning or show up to work late, underslept, and/or hungover.
This year, some 17.2 million Americans might miss work the day after the big game, according to the “Super Bowl Fever Survey” commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by The Harris Poll. The institute notes that this is the largest estimated number of absentees since the survey began in 2005, surpassing the 16.5 million estimated in 2016. The annual survey was conducted last month among 1,107 employed adults in the US aged 18 and older, and calculates its estimate based on the percentage of respondents who said they would likely stay home (11 percent) multiplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent count of the US workforce (156.9 million people).
From the same survey data, the institute estimates that 7.8 million Americans will be taking a pre-approved day off on Monday, while 4.7 million will take a last-minute sick day and another 22 million will either go into work late or work remotely from home. Senior-level employees and executives were more likely than junior and mid-level employees to say they would probably not work their normal hours on Monday.
Employees and employers alike know that Monday is the biggest “sick day” of the year, and 62 percent of senior-level/executive leaders surveyed by the institute said they found it funny when co-workers call out sick the day after the Super Bowl when they suspect they’re not actually sick. In a separate survey from the staffing firm OfficeTeam, however, 42 percent of senior managers said they considered these unplanned absences the most distracting or annoying employee behavior when it comes to major sporting events — more than any other habit. The OfficeTeam survey also found that 54 percent of professionals know someone who’s called in sick or made an excuse for skipping work following a major sporting event.
Super Bowl Sunday is coming up this weekend, when over 110 million Americans are expected to watch the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles view for the championship on television. Considering that so many US employees skip work, arrive late, or perform poorly the Monday after the nation’s most-watched sporting event, Jana Kasperkevic at Marketplace wonders if employers shouldn’t just give up on getting any work done that day at all:
27 percent of employees have skipped work after the Super Bowl altogether. About 36 percent of male employees and 16 percent of female employees have called in sick or made a different excuse for skipping work after a major sporting event, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 workers by OfficeTeam. And while other workers didn’t stay home to nurse their Super Bowl hangover, another 32 percent of employees did arrive later than usual. On days after the big game, 42 percent of men and 20 percent of women were late to the office.
And yes, HR has noticed. When asked by OfficeTeam after which sporting event would they want to see a paid national holiday, 72 percent of the 300 HR managers surveyed said the Super Bowl.
Surveys in recent years have consistently shown a massive drop-off in productivity on Super Bowl Monday. A survey in 2016 found that 77 percent of American workers planned to watch the game and estimated that 16.5 million Americans would miss work the next day. This year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that the workforce’s Super Bowl hangover could cost employers over $3 billion in lost productivity. New England and Philadelphia are home to over 10 million workers, Challenger notes, and if even one in ten of these workers skips work next Monday, the lost productivity would amount to $194 million.
Several new surveys from the UK illustrate the importance of managing against the pressure and stress employees experience at work. In one study, Marianne Calnan writes at People Management, 20 percent of employees said they had taken time off work to cope with excessive pressure:
A further 18 per cent of the 2,000 employees surveyed by the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) said they had cried at least once every fortnight because of their job. More than a third (34 per cent) said they didn’t like their job, citing problems such as not being paid enough (9 per cent) and a lack of development opportunities (8 per cent).
The research, released to mark Stress Awareness Day today (1 November), also found that 35 per cent of workers regularly considered leaving their job. The same proportion also said they often missed family occasions or personal engagements because of work commitments. …
Mental health issues are an increasingly significant contributor to absenteeism among employees in the UK, according to new research from NHS Digital, the data and technology arm of the National Health Service. In an analysis of 12 million fit notes written by general practitioners in England between December 2014 and March 2017, NHS Digital found that 31 percent of those notes were issued for mental and behavioral disorders. The study also found that the number of workers who took sick leave or were put on restricted duties because of stress or anxiety increased by 14 percent between 2015-16 and 2016-17. Marianne Calnan discusses the report’s implications with some experts at People Management:
Rachel Suff, senior employee relations adviser at the CIPD, warned that the high proportion of employees experiencing mental ill-health may be linked to the increasing availability of technology. “The line between work and home has become more blurred over recent decades; technology can support flexible working, which can support better wellbeing, but it can also encourage a ‘never switching off’ culture,” she said.
Charlotte Cross, director of the Better Health at Work Alliance, told People Management that organisations should take steps to tackle problems before they escalate. “Employers should ensure they have trained line managers, and ideally mental health first-aiders, to spot early signs of distress or fading resilience and signpost for help before the trigger point is reached,” she said.
Employee mental health is a bottom-line issue, as more and more organizations are beginning to understand. Stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues have a strong negative impact on productivity and engagement, and can also cause or exacerbate physical illnesses that drive up health care costs. Organizations thus have a strong interest in their employees’ psychological wellbeing, but many would still prefer not to talk about it, even as evidence mounts that the US and UK workforces are facing workplace mental health crises.
Even for those who do want to help their employees deal with mental illness and work-related stress, it can be a challenge to detect these issues in the workplace because employees themselves are understandably reluctant to talk about them. You can’t always expect your stressed-out employees to be forthright about their mental health without signaling to them that you care and that help is available for them if they need it. In response to this challenge, Digiday reporter Grace Caffyn spots a trend of organizations training specialists “to act as a first point of contact for staff who may be struggling in silence”:
The idea of a mental-health first-aider — someone who can spot and assist people experiencing emotional distress — isn’t new. The idea arrived in the U.K. 10 years ago with social enterprise MHFA England. However, the organization’s CEO Poppy Jaman says while the idea is already established in the public sector, brands have recently been showing interest, too. Her team of trainers has now worked with around 200, including EY, Mars, Channel 4 and M&S.
If an unusual number of employees called in sick at your organization today, some of them are probably faking it. As many as one in 10 American workers may miss work because of the Super Bowl, a new survey suggested last week. The survey, commissioned by Kronos, finds that 77 percent of American workers plans to watch the NFL championship game, and estimates that 16.5 million Americans expect to miss work the day after, 10.5 million of whom have already asked for the day off while the rest plan to call in sick. Extrapolating from its sample of 2,042 adults, Kronos further estimates that another 7.5 million were likely to show up late to work today.
Younger workers, as well as men, are more likely to take a postgame personal day, according to the survey. Of all employees 18-34 years old, 20 percent said they might skip work today. Of those who plan to watch the Super Bowl, 32 percent of men aged 18-34 and 20 percent of men aged 35-44 said the same. So did 10 percent of all women who said they were going to watch the game. Fans of the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos were particularly likely to say they would request the day off in advance.
This year’s game is not exceptional in this regard: 15 percent of adults who have ever watched the Super Bowl said they had missed or been late to work the next day as a result, while 14 percent of all employees said they had been tardy or absent on account of some personal, non-essential activity like a sporting event, concert, parade, awards show, or political event. On the bright side, 74 percent said they would tell their boss the truth about why they missed work in such instances.