If there's one thing employers and employees both dread, it's the Monday after the Super Bowl

Business owners have come to expect workers to show up late or call in sick the day after the biggest sporting event of the year, while employees know that a fun Super Bowl party is often followed by a long, painful day at the office. 

Last year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans chose not to go to work on the Monday after the Super Bowl, while another 4.4 million came in late, according to a study conducted by the Workforce Institute at Kronos. Popular sick days such as this one can have a serious impact on a company's bottom line, as lost productivity from unplanned absences is estimated to cost employers roughly 50 percent more than planned absences, according to data from absence management company Reed Group.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps employers can take to help ensure work still gets done on the Monday after the big game, says Kevin Curry, senior vice president and national practice leader at Reed. The question for business owners is whether to adopt what Curry refers to as "the carrot approach" or "the stick approach."

"Both ways work, it just depends on your company's culture," he says. 

So how can business owners prevent the Super Bowl from sapping their workers' productivity? Here are the methods Curry recommends:

The Carrot Approach:

Announce a late-start option. Giving employees the option of working a later shift--whether it's an hour or two hours--will encourage workers to plan ahead for the day after the game. This approach can give your staff some extra recovery time without sacrificing the total number of hours worked.

Free breakfast. Offering free breakfast the Monday after the Super Bowl creates an incentive for your workers to not only show up, but also to show up on time. This kind of pro-employee gathering can also boost morale on what can otherwise be a low-energy day.

The Stick Approach:

Make Monday a mandatory workday. Retail workers typically can't take vacation on the Friday after Thanksgiving because of the Black Friday shopping spree, so why not make the Monday after the Super Bowl a vacation blackout day? This will help ensure your company is fully staffed after the game.

Make employees request time off in advance. Requiring your workers to take off the Monday after the Super Bowl well in advance will give you time to plan ahead for their absences. Establishing this policy will also discourage your staff from calling in sick at the last second.

"If you're Google and you want to encourage people to come to work, you'd probably use the carrot method," Curry says. "If you're a manufacturer and you have to run a production line, you probably want to use the stick method."

Which of these two approaches would work best at your company? Tell us in the comments below.

Published on: Jan 29, 2015