A petition started by a New York teenager on Change.org asking the National Football League to move the 2021 Super Bowl from Sunday to Saturday, potentially with an earlier start time, now has more than 70,000 signatures.
Arguments in favor of this proposal include economic benefits, giving kids a chance to see more of the game before bedtime and fewer work absences due to the “hangover effect.”
High work absence rates on Super Bowl Monday (“Smunday”) are a cultural phenomenon. Here are some examples:
- The 2020 Super Bowl Fever Survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by The Harris Poll estimates that 17.5 million employed U.S. adults may miss work on Feb. 3, a record number since the institute began tracking absences in 2005.
- About 11.1 million employees are expected to take approved time-off, allowing their employers to make scheduling adjustments. Investigators say that leaves about 4.7 million who will call in sick, 1.5 million who just won’t show up, and nearly 8 million who are going to wait and see how they feel.
- Nearly a quarter of business professionals (23 percent) surveyed think Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, according to a Captivate Office Pulse study of 360 U.S. white-collar employees. In addition, 14 percent of respondents said they expect to be hung over or “extra tired;” among younger workers it was 26 percent. Captivate estimates companies lost $484 million in productivity on Super Bowl Monday last year.
- Fox Sports, which is broadcasting the game, is offering viewers the chance to win a $10,000 bonus by taking off Monday and then tweeting #SuperMonday.
Based on the Workforce Institute’s findings, executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., estimates this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers over $5.1 billion in lost productivity during Super Bowl week through post-game Monday. This includes costs associated with lost days, game-related sideline conversations while on the clock, and arriving late or leaving work early.
Are Reported Injuries Lower?
Naturally, our curiosity was piqued. At WorkCare we wondered if fewer work-related injuries were reported on the day after the Super Bowl because there are less people at work. So, the WorkCare analytics team checked the number of injuries reported to WorkCare’s Incident Intervention 24/7 telehealth triage center on Super Bowl Monday in comparison to non-holiday Mondays in January and February over a seven-year period (2013 to 2019). No significant difference was found.
This inquiry leaves us to speculate about the reasons: Perhaps employees who watched the game are more susceptible to injury because they lost sleep or are recovering from celebratory over-indulgence. Some employees may push themselves to compensate for absent colleagues, or they may have worked hard on Sunday and are tired out from serving or filling in for football fans.
Employers may want to consider conducting their own investigations to determine exactly how many and what types of employees show up for work on Monday, and for developing .interventions to reduce potentially negative consequences.
The Super Bowl is an American institution that presents some unique challenges for employers, reminding us of the need for year-round injury prevention and absence management strategies that take into account company culture and workforce diversity. A solid game plan will likely help improve business results, employee morale and health outcomes.