Millions of Americans will skip work Monday or show up late because of ‘Game of Thrones’

Andy Meek

A slump in productivity is coming.

Okay, that doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Winter is coming,” but for Game of Thrones fans, at least, the statement is no less true. Several million Americans, it seems, are planning to either be late, skip work completely or be less productive on Monday as a result of staying up to watch the last-ever episode on Sunday as the eighth and final season of the smash hit HBO fantasy drama draws to a close.

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That statistic comes from a new Harris poll from the Workforce Institute at Kronos which was released today, and which revealed that a massive 34% of employed US adults who participated in the survey say they’re planning to watch the 80-minute sixth episode of GoT’s final season. That figure, according to the survey, would make the episode one of the 10 most-watched series finales in television history — but it will also bring consequences to the American workforce the following day.

The survey revealed that an estimated 27.2 million US workers admit the show’s conclusion may have a direct impact on their work obligations.

The survey was conducted online from May 7-9 among 1,090 employed US adults ages 18 and older on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos by The Harris Poll. That means the participants gave their answers before seeing the controversial fifth episode of the season, in which Daenerys takes a mad turn and scorches King’s Landing, along with countless innocent inhabitants.

Meaning, presumably, the numbers in this survey might have been higher had the survey been taken after Sunday’s episode.

Meanwhile, here’s how that 27.2 million breaks down: About 10.7 million American workers are planning to skip work completely on Monday so they can watch the finale “and celebrate or cope with the aftermath,” according to the survey’s results. Also, some 5.8 million workers who usually work Sunday nights plan to take a vacation day, sick day or personal day so they can enjoy the finale.

Come Monday morning, about 2.9 million Americans say they plan to show up to work late, and another 3.4 million say they’re planning to work remotely that day even though they usually don’t.

You can check out the full survey results and data here. Another key finding: A whopping 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 Game of Thrones, even if they don’t actively watch the show.

The effect on workplaces, though, doesn’t have to be all negative. Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos, said that this survey’s results also found that a third of employees use TV shows like Game of Thrones to build closer relationships with colleagues and supervisors.

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