Super Bowl Sick Outs

  | November 1, 2016

Unless you live under a rock, or a bridge, you probably know that this upcoming Sunday, February 5, 2017 is Super Bowl 51. If you are in the HR world, you may be looking forward to watching the commercials and/or the game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. But, to be fair, you may also be gearing up for what the Kraft Heinz company proposes become a new national holiday “Smunday.”

What is this “Smunday” petition all about? Well, in addition to being a brilliant (and far less expensive) marketing campaign than a Super Bowl ad, it is a tacit recognition of the fact that for millions of Americans (16 million according to CNN), the day after Super Bowl Sunday may be among the least productive with employees calling out “sick” after perhaps overindulging in junk food, beer, and late entertainment for the game.

The folks at Heinz have gone so far as to launch a “” petition to have the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday made into a national holiday. Recognizing that the employee absences are resulting in daily losses totaling $1,000,000,000.00 (that’s right, one BILLION dollars), our friends in the condiment world think that the right thing to do is just accept the inevitable. The reality, of course, is that whether the petition ever actually is acted upon, it has raised an entertaining and interesting question for HR professionals. How should/can you handle it when you know a significant portion of your staff simply isn’t going to show up on a certain day?

While some HR folks might be tempted to consider punitive measures and dock people’s pay for failing to attend, there is another and quite creative set of solutions that may in the end promote more positivity and encourage employees to trudge in that Time encourages:

  • Start the day with a breakfast buffet. Not too early, but early enough that even the most sluggish of your staff can eventually wander in. While you may not get a full day’s worth of work, you might at least get half.
  • Shift your start time for the day. If your company usually gets going at 8, consider simply starting late.
  • Make the day all about “teambuilding” in honor of whoever wins the Super Bowl. Think of the teamwork required for the winners and encourage your employees to identify ways your organization can be more team-focused.
  • Plan some “entertainment” for the day. It could be a commercial-watching review, a recipe exchange for everyone’s favorite Super Bowl recipes, or even a hired entertainer who can come in and will bring some joy and laughter.


Whichever team wins this year, here’s hoping your Super Bowl Monday works out in the best way possible for YOUR team!


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