LOWELL, Mass., May 15, 2019

Brace yourself: Absence is coming. According to a new survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated 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 Bowl1.

A staggering one-third (34%) of employed U.S. adults who participated in the survey say 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 million2 U.S. employees admitting GoT’s conclusion will potentially have a direct impact on their work obligations.

The “Absence is Coming” survey was conducted online from May 7-9, 2019 among 1,090 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos by The Harris Poll. All percentages cited are based directly from survey results and U.S. census data.

News Facts

  • GoT finale hits the workforce like Valyrian steel: Managers, brace for the March of the Dead
    • Approximately 27.2 million employees who plan to watch the Game of Thrones 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 Monday because of the series finale of the most popular show in HBO history.
    • An estimated 10.7 million3 American employees who plan to watch the finale say they will skip work so that they can witness who ascends to the Iron Throne and celebrate or cope with the aftermath, including 5.8 million4 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 million5 Americans plan to show up late to work Monday morning, while 3.4 million6 will work remotely even though they usually do not.
    • One in five Game of Thrones viewers (21%) plan to watch the finale away from their home.
  • Game of Thrones’ final act: Burning productivity to the ground
    • The final season of Game of Thrones has spoiled productivity to date, with 20.4 million7 employees admitting that watching the current season has affected their attendance and/or performance at work, including 4.4 million8 employees who have missed work specifically to stream re-runs to refresh their memory on key plotlines or catch up on missed episodes.
    • Game of Thrones has given new meaning to the “Sunday Scaries,” as 7.3 million9 employees admit they have called out sick, taken a personal day, or used a vacation day to miss work on a Monday specifically because they watched Game of Thrones the night before.
    • Even when they are supposed to be working, many fans say their minds are still in Westeros: 12.7 million10 employees watching the current season say they spend five or more hours per week talking about, reading about, or posting online about Game of Thrones, while another 16.5 million11 admit they’ve spent between one and four hours doing the same.
    • A staggering 35.8 million12 employees have spent at least one hour per week of company time this season talking about, reading about, or posting online about Game of Thrones, even if they don’t actively watch the show.
  • Employees would bend the knee to Jon Snow, House Stark as their workplace leader
    • Of this season’s most-likely characters to occupy the Iron Throne, one in four employees watching the current season of Game of Thrones (28%) say 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 okay 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.

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    “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. 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. In fact, the ‘Absence is Coming’ survey also found that a third of employees (33%) use TV shows and events to build closer relationships with colleagues and supervisors. Open the lines of communication with your employees, use the right tools to simplify scheduling, and have a playbook to incorporate these events, when appropriate, into your engagement strategy.”

Supporting Resources

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.


Survey Method:

The “Absence is Coming” survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Kronos Incorporated from May 7-9, 2019 among 1,090 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].