Total eclipse of the sun, total eclipse of $700M (& other cultural phenomena costing you money)

Monday’s total solar eclipse was the first celestial event of its kind in the contiguous US since 1979 — and people everywhere put the world on hold to catch a glimpse of it through special eclipse glasses or other indirect viewing contraptions.

Depending on your location, the prime eclipse viewing time frame was anywhere between 9am PST and 4pm EST — meaning that ideal viewing time landed squarely within the traditional workday. Because of the millions of Americans who watched the NASA livestream or ducked out to see it in person, it’s estimated that American employers lost almost $700 million in output to this otherwise not work-related celestial wonder.

Though seemingly an isolated incident, this kind of massive, aggregate productivity loss thanks to various cultural phenomena is not uncommon, and businesses everywhere grapple with how to adequately address it. Here are a few more examples:

Fantasy football costs American employers $13.4 billion

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that nearly 31 million people in the US played fantasy football in 2014, and that the inevitable fantasy lineup research, drafting, trading (etc.) that occurs during the 15-week season costs employers over $13 billion in lost productivity.

March Madness costs $1.3 billion per hour

In addition to fantasy football, Challenger, Gray & Christmas similarly examine the potential effects of March Madness on the workplace, estimating that approximately 51 million workers join office pools during March, amounting to about $1.3 billion lost to slacking employees per hour of distraction.

Amazon Prime Day cost roughly $10 billion

According to CNBC, the rough estimate of productivity lost thanks to those slyly perusing Amazon at work for a good Prime Day deal was about $10 billion. With 85 million people already on Amazon Prime (not counting the many that sign up for Prime services just for this day), and 78 percent of those people admitting they’d consider shopping deals on Prime Day at work, this estimate seems on point (if not potentially low).

Facebook aggregately costs $3.5 trillion in lost productivity

Though not an isolated event, Facebook productivity loss estimates were so prolific that we had to include them. With 1.6 billion monthly active users that spend a total number of 10.5 billion minutes per day on the social networking site, Facebook is certainly an area of concern in terms of productivity. While it’s difficult to know exactly how many Facebook hours are spent on company time, it’s estimated that, since 2008, Facebook has occupied enough time to cost more than $3 trillion in hypothetical labor.

Addressing distractions

When it comes to these kinds of cultural phenomena — particularly widely-popular national and international events — attempts to limit or prevent participation on company time can come across as punitive and heavy-handed. Instead of viewing them purely as a productivity drain, reframe these events as possible mediums for culture-building and employee morale improvement. By allowing a certain amount of recreation in the workplace, you enable employee bonding and friendship, improve job satisfaction, show your employees you care, and ultimately incentivize people to work harder.

Regina Mullen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Regina Mullen
Regina is the Workforce Management Expert & Content Marketing Associate for Replicon. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Polaris PSA shines brightly

By Steve Brooks - October 29, 2020 Two years and $20+ million in development costs are what it has taken to create Polaris PSA, the next generation of Replicon PSA.…Read More

Polaris Creates a New Category of Professional Services Automation

Introduces The World’s First Self-driving PSA, Delivering More Results with Less Hassle. Redwood City, CA – October 28, 2020.  – The Polaris PSA solution launched today, creating a new category…Read More

News from week beginning 19th October

By Steve Brooks - October 26, 2020 What a week, with both Workday and Sage Intacct holding conventions. Several PSA vendors announced new releases including a major update from FinancialForce.…Read More

5 ways to improve service delivery in your organization

In a highly competitive market, service-based businesses need to capitalize on any opportunity to set themselves apart from their (often very similar) competitors. While implementation, system details, and service management…Read More

Demystifying the millennial workforce: 5 tips from Trunk Club’s Andrew Anderson Devine

Time magazine labels the millennial generation the “most threatening and exciting generation,” infamous for “narcissism [and] its effect: entitlement.” In the workplace, the perception of the millennial workforce is no…Read More

Common pitfalls in professional services organizations & how to avoid them (1/3)

The professional services organization (PSO) landscape is changing -- employees are harder to recruit and retain, a globalized marketplace increases competition for clients, clients want more for less, and management…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Cloud
  • In The News
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Project and Program Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Workforce Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Feature Update
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Webinar Recap
  • Global Compliance Updates