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GoT Finale Hits the Workforce Like Valyrian Steel: Managers, Brace for the March of the Dead

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Brace yourself, employers: absence is coming.

According to a survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by The Harris Poll, Sunday’s long-awaited series finale of Game of Thrones (GoT) will create the biggest storm of workplace disruption since the Super Bowl.

One-third (34%) of the nearly 1,100 employed U.S. adults who responded said they plan to watch the finale Sunday night, which would make it one of the 10 most-watched series finales in television history. The fate of Westeros will have real-world consequences, too, with an estimated 27.2 million U.S. employees admitting GoT’s conclusion will potentially have a direct impact on their work obligations

“What do we say to the God of Absence? Not today – or at least organizations can if they embrace, not avoid, cultural phenomenon like the Game of Thrones series finale,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos. “Empower employees with flexible schedules and the ability to request time off or swap shifts from anywhere, at any time so they can enjoy moments that matter in their lives, and don’t be shy to use pop culture common ground to build camaraderie with employees and managers. 

A Survey Knows

  • Approximately 27.2 million employees who plan to watch the GoT finale live admit they will either miss work completely, arrive late, work remotely, be less productive than usual or experience another impact on work obligations come Monday.
  • An estimated 10.7 million American employees who plan to watch the finale of the most popular HBO show in history said they will skip work so that they can witness who ascends to the Iron Throne and either celebrate or cope with the aftermath, including 5.8 million employees who typically work Sunday nights but plan to use a vacation day, sick day or personal day to watch the finale live.
  • About 2.9 million Americans plan to show up late to work Monday morning, while 3.4 million will work remotely even though they usually do not.
  • One in five GoT viewers (21%) plan to watch the finale away from their home.

GoT’s Final Good-Bye: ‘Dracarys’ to Productivity

  • The final season of GoT has spoiled productivity to date, with 20.4 million employees admitting that watching the current season has affected their attendance and/or performance at work, including 4.4 million employees who have missed work specifically to stream reruns to refresh their memory on key plotlines or catch up on missed episodes.
  • GoT has given new meaning to the “Sunday Scaries,” as 7.3 million employees admit they have called in sick, taken a personal day or used a vacation day to miss work on a Monday specifically because they watched the show the night before.
  • Even when they are supposed to be working, many fans say their minds are still in Westeros: 12.7 million employees watching the current season said they spend five or more hours per week talking about, reading about or posting online about GoT, while another 16.5 million admit they’ve spent between one and four hours doing the same.
  • A staggering 35.8 million employees have spent at least one hour per week of company time this season talking about, reading about or posting online about GoT, even if they don’t actively watch the show.

Bend the Knee

  • Of this season’s most-likely characters to occupy the Iron Throne, one in four employees watching the current season (28%) said they would most want Jon Snow to be their manager.
  • Tyrion Lannister was voted the second most-popular would-be manager (12%), with the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, ranked third (9%). Shockingly, even Cersei Lannister received a few votes, with 2% of fans apparently OK with being managed by fear.
  • Overall, most employees would prefer their manager come from House Stark (43%) versus House Lannister (17%), with Arya Stark (7%) receiving the second-most votes for the North.

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