- More than 10 million Americans will skip work on Monday to watch, celebrate and mourn the finale of HBO's hit show Game of Thrones Sunday night, according to new research by the Harris Poll from the Workforce Institute. About 27.2 million workers said they will miss work, arrive late, work from home, suffer a lack of focus or experience another Game of Thrones-related distraction from work.
- The show has already impacted productivity; 20.4 million workers said Game of Thrones affected their attendance, performance or both. More than 4 million who missed work already took off time to re-watch previous seasons or catch up on episodes they missed. And 7 million said they took off work on a Monday this spring as a direct result of watching the show the night before.
- When Game of Thrones fans do show up to work, they bring the fandom with them; 35 million said they have spent at least an hour each week at work either talking, reading or posting about the series.
Employers may want to brace for workplace disruption this coming Sunday and Monday (and possibly for the entirety of next week). If the number of absences predicted holds true, managers can expect workers to schedule personal or vacation days or call in sick to coincide with the broadcast of the last Game of Throne's episode.
Workplace disruptions, like the Super Bowl, Oscars and popular TV series, can deflate productivity. Game of Thrones' massive appeal may cost employers $3.3 billion in lost productivity, according to an analysis from the executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
Productivity losses may concern employers, but when a popular show, major sporting event or other national event brings workers together, employers can use these moments to promote teamwork and camaraderie. Workplace policies may help prevent employees from using too much of the workday engaged in non-work activities or from starting arguments with employees who don't share their view of the event at hand.