From the Blog

What the eclipse productivity loss buzz can teach us about work-life integration

If you cleared a window in your schedule last week to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse, you contributed to an almost $700 million in lost productivity, according to a calculation by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The eclipse-driven productivity loss has been all the rage in the news with Time, Fortune, CBS, Forbes, NBC and even Vanity Fair covering the estimate.

Our take on eclipse productivity? Don’t sweat it.

By now, you’ve heard that work-life balance is dead. And work-life integration is the new normal. As Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht likes to say, “You don’t have a work-life and a home-life – it’s all one life!”

And life happens. The eclipse might have briefly halted productivity but it’s far from a rare occurrence and estimates of the effects of events on corporate bottom lines are endless.

In 2016, fantasy football made headlines when research revealed an estimated $17 billion in lost productivity.

For every 14 minutes employees spent shopping rather than working on Cyber Monday, $450 million in productivity was lost.

Survey research from Kronos claimed that the 2016 Rio Olympics would also be bad news for productivity — with an estimated 55 million employed Americans watching live Olympic events at work.

March Madness is also a major productivity killer, costing an estimated $615 million per hour in lost productivity with participants watching highlights, tracking their standings and setting up brackets.

The obsession with tying the events your employees love to your bottom line isn’t helping you gain back productivity. Trust your employees to embrace workplace flexibility in a way that works for them. Policing employees and their time will backfire — if employees don’t feel trusted, they don’t feel valued and won’t be engaged.

We know that when employees feel their employer cares about their health and well-being, they’re 38 percent more engaged. Instead of focusing on the distractions of events beyond your control, think of the two-minute eclipse viewing as time your employees spent building connections with their colleagues that will boost collaboration, or time spent that allowed them to return to their desks refreshed, (maybe even inspired!) and ready to innovate.