October 08, 2005
Playoff baseball = lost productivity

You may live for the playoffs, but if you do so at the office, you're part of a $225 million problem.


Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that the playoff schedule will cost employers about $225 million this year, as employees either talk about the games or try to follow their progress during working hours.

"Right now, the divisional playoffs will have at least five games played during business hours. This could lead to unscheduled absences, early departures or, at the very least, a significant workday distraction," said John A. Challenger, CEO of the firm.

[...]

Challenger's estimate of a $225 million cost to employers is based on an average of a half-hour of lost worker productivity in each of the eight playoff cities, using the average pay in those cities. He said that while not every employee is going to follow or talk about the games, that could be balanced by employees who closely follow the action during working hours.

Challenger said that the lost productivity shouldn't make a dent in the economies of the eight cities involved, however.

"A little downtime even three hours' worth is unlikely even to register a blip on the economic radar for these cities, all of which are in the top 25 in terms of gross metropolitan product," he said. "Together, these cities manage economic output of more than $1.6 trillion in products and services every year. It would take a major business shutdown lasting several days or weeks to put these economies at risk."


Hey, maybe these employees will all be talking about the games during the time that they would normally be goofing off by other means. You never know.

By the way, the firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas seems to pop up with an analysis of productivity losses every time there's a major cultural event happening. Any guesses how much time and revenue they lose doing that instead of what they normally get paid to do? Maybe someone will ask John Challenger that next time he sends out one of these press releases.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 08, 2005 to Baseball | TrackBack
Comments

They're just a buncha wet blankets. I'll bet they don't even like sports.

Go Stros.

Posted by: PDiddie on October 8, 2005 2:13 PM

Imagine how much Challenger could have earned doing these studies had it been around in the fifties when the Dodgers met the Yankees seemingly every year in the WS.

Posted by: Linkmeister on October 8, 2005 2:25 PM

How much of this comes from time wasted by salaried employees, who are paid by the work they do, not the number of hours it takes to do it?

Employers all too often try to have it both ways. Some of them go so far as to call it "time theft" when even a salaried employee goofs off, but somehow they are never stealing the employee's time when they force 'em to work nights and weekends on a regular basis.

Employers who are concerned about this should convert all their salaried people to hourly and pay them overtime. When you can't get your job done in 40 hours, they expect you to work 50. But if you can get it done in 20 or 30, they still expect at least 40 out of you if not more. So I largely think this issue is bogus and a case of employers trying to have it both ways.

Besides, I think most good employers realize that a certain amount of this kind of "water cooler talk" can reduce workplace stress and improve morale, which can boost productivity in other ways. Slavedriving bosses aren't always the best at getting results, and are certainly not the best at retaining top talent.

I suppose this got off on a bit of a tangent, but that's what I generally think about "slacking employees costing us gazillions" studies.

Posted by: Tim on October 8, 2005 2:50 PM

Will this game ever end?

Posted by: Daniel on October 9, 2005 5:08 PM

Will this game ever end?

Tying this comment into the entry's subject, Houston and Atlanta-area employers are lucky this game was played on a Sunday.

Posted by: Tim on October 9, 2005 8:37 PM