Earlier this week, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced that the Super Bowl would waste productivity to the tune of over $1 billion. When I saw this news item, I immediately wondered how could this be possibly measured. Especially due to the fact that Sunday evening is not typically a work day for the majority of folks. From reading more into their study and other commentary, I’m still extremely skeptical. The best analysis I can give this study is one word: silly. I suspect they were only trying to get some headlines with the press surrounding the Super Bowl.
The fundamental aspect of their research is that the discussions at work, web surfing, arguments, etc. both prior to and after the game, contribute to a massive loss in productivity. I would counter their arguments with this one of my own – people will waste time regardless of the event or topic of the week (or day or hour). Employees naturally need to to communicate and generally participate in discussions and activities that do not appear to be directly productive to the enterprise. But as anyone who has ever worked a day in the corporate world, an 8 hour day is not 8 solid hours of non-stop work. People will take breaks, chat, and generally waste time just to get through the day. That said, it doesn’t matter what the event is as they will find something to talk about or read up on the web. What’s next? Will Challenger, Gray & Christmas perform a study on the effects of the recent tsunami disaster to worker productivity? Give me a break.
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