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Workplace Culture

DraftKings Goes on the Offensive to Defend Post-Super Bowl Holiday

Despite the spike in workers not showing up and predicted lost productivity in the billions of dollars, some pass on making the Monday after the big game a holiday.
Super Bowl DraftKings

Make the Monday after the Super Bowl a holiday? DraftKings did.

With the pro football season coming to an end, some employers are looking with dread at the day after the big game — Super Bowl Monday.

While the Super Bowl itself is an event many Americans share a love for, companies have to face the reality of employee absenteeism the following day. And those companies may be asking themselves, “What’s the solution?”

Rather than impose restrictions or muddle through the day short-staffed, fantasy-sports contest provider DraftKings has a solution: make post-Super Bowl Monday a holiday.

“It was really one of those opportunities where it was a unique time for us to find something that was affecting our work and affecting business productivity and turn it into something positive,” said Graham Walters, senior director of human resources at Boston-based DraftKings.

With many workers either taking the day off or coming in but not being productive, Walters knew a change needed to be made.

DraftKings HR

Graham Walters, senior director of HR at DraftKings.

“We really took it as an opportunity to say, OK, if you can’t beat them, join them,” Walters said.

According to a report by executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an estimated $3 billion is wasted because of lost productivity the day after the Super Bowl. Armed with this data, Walters and his team at DraftKings looked at numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and similar reports that could prove to their CEO a holiday is the best solution.

“It was relatively easy I think for him to say, ‘We can fix this pretty easily just by implementing this solution where we give everybody the day off.’ And it’s really a win-win for everybody,” Walters said.

DraftKings implemented the holiday three years ago and has found an improvement in employees’ attitudes when they come in on Tuesday. Walters believes giving employees a holiday is the best solution, especially if their statistics and numbers show low productivity is affecting the workplace.

“I think that it really could work for all companies since it really is a uniquely American event,” Walters said.

While DraftKings believes a holiday is the solution to post-Super Bowl employee absenteeism, Andrew Challenger, vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, disagrees.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t make sense for employers to make it a holiday,” said Challenger. “I think it costs them significantly more.”

Looking at the numbers, 1 in 10 Americans will miss work on Monday, which is about 16.5 million workers, Challenger said. Multiply that by 10 if people take the day off, and it becomes a costly solution, he added.

So, what’s the cure to Super Bowl Monday absenteeism?

Challenger encourages employers to embrace the event.

“There are some really fun parts about the Super Bowl. You have so many people who like to participate in it,” Challenger said.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Challenger, Gray & Christmas has a small office party to bond over the game and commercials, for example. By bringing people together, it creates “camaraderie and morale in the office,” which has been an efficient solution. And although it is a distraction and some label it as a loss of productivity, it’s “a loss of productivity that you can’t combat too much.”

“We talk a lot about different distractions in the workplace; we do studies on that. This is one of those ones I really think employers should embrace and try to bring some of that Super Bowl magic into their workplace,” Challenger said.

Walters and Challenger both agree that employers who take a hard line on rigid employee attendance policies for one day can have lasting effects among their workforce.

“It’s too costly in terms of employee morale to ban people from having fun around the Super Bowl,” Challenger said.

Walters said DraftKings appreciates employee feedback and tries to set company policy around it.

“I don’t think anybody likes to be told what they’re forced to do,” Walters said.

Aysha Ashley Househ is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.