Super Bowl Spurs Annual Absence

Sporting events may be driving workplace absenteeism up, but here are strategies to minimize the damage.
By: | February 1, 2019 • 2 min read

With Super Bowl LIII right around the corner and March Madness looming on the horizon, it’s a good time to remind HR leaders that employee absenteeism around major sports events is not only a potential productivity drain, it’s also on the upswing.

According to new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, 54 percent of professionals surveyed know someone who has taken a sick day or created an excuse for skipping work following a big event—up from 41 percent three years ago.


In a different survey, 42 percent of senior managers identified absenteeism the day after a major sporting event as the most distracting or annoying employee behavior when it comes to sports – a 20-point jump from a similar survey in 2017.

“It’s easy to get drawn into the excitement of major sports events,” says Stephanie Naznitsky, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Employees can do their part to keep it business as usual by giving advance notice if they want to take a day off, keeping game discussions to a minimum, and following company guidelines for things like breaks and fan gear.”

Naznitsky adds that managers may cut their workers some slack leading up to and after a popular event by offering schedule flexibility or organizing group activities to celebrate.

“It’s also a good idea to contact a staffing firm to help cover employee absences,” she says.