Conventional wisdom holds that the day after the Super Bowl is a wash at the workplace in terms of productivity. Over the years, a variety of pollsters and firms with their fingers on the HR pulse have pegged lost productivity in the $820 million range. Reports have it that more than 1.5 million people will call in sick tomorrow and another 4 million+ will be late for work. The conventional wisdom about a Super Bowl productivity is so ingrained that it has led to suggestions to move the game to Saturday and near-annual petitions to declare Super Bowl Monday a holiday.
But some HR pros challenge this annual assumption about peak productivity losses. At TLNT, Lance Haun has taken a critical look at those numbers and puts them in perspective:

“According to the latest BLS numbers (PDF), there are about 140 million employed people in the United States. So, to put those national loss productivity numbers in perspective, the average American worker loses about $5.85 worth of productivity for the entire week of the Super Bowl, and about 4 percent of your employees are either going to miss work or be late on Monday due to the big game Sunday in Indianapolis

That productivity epidemic seems a lot less serious given those numbers. And I imagine if you take out the most egregious offenders who should actually be addressed (the guys who spend all week on ESPN, working on betting pools, and trolling discussion boards), that number would improve even more.”

And at AOL, Laura Vanderkam makes the case that this loss of productivity is a myth and that it’s more just a case of “human beings are still human beings at work.” She suggests that:

“…if people want to start hunting for sources of lost productivity, I’d look first at meetings that didn’t have to happen or went on too long, emails that never needed to be sent, and rabbit holes gone down because of unclear communication, personal agendas, and a general desire to cover one’s rear end. I’d put the lost productivity at $1 trillion weekly — but that’s just a guess.”

Maybe all Mondays suffer a bit from the transition of off-work to on and people need to reset and reprogram. This might account for why some surveys point to Tuesday as the most productive day of the week. At Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam offers some excellent suggestions for how to make Monday as productive as Tuesday.

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