Managers, brace yourself: Absence is coming. Sunday’s long-awaited series finale of “Game of Thrones” will create the biggest storm of workplace disruption since the Super Bowl. New research reveals the fate of Westeros will have real world consequences—an estimated 27.2 million U.S. employees admit that GoT’s conclusion will potentially have a direct impact on their work obligations.

According to the new survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated conducted by The Harris Poll, a staggering one-third (34 percent) of employed U.S. adults who participated say they plan to watch the finale Sunday night, which would make it one of the 10 most-watched series finales in television history.

“What do we say to the God of Absence? Not today—or at least organizations can if they embrace, not avoid, a cultural phenomenon like the ‘Game of Thrones’ series finale,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director at The Workforce Institute at Kronos, in a news release.

Her advice: “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.”

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 million 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 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 millionAmericans 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 Game of Thrones viewers (21 percent) plan to watch the finale away from their home.

“The Absence is Comingsurvey also found that a third of employees (33 percent) use TV shows and events to build closer relationships with colleagues and supervisors,” said Maroney. “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.”

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 millionemployees 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 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 million 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 million 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 millionadmit 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 “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 percent) say they would most want Jon Snow to be their manager.

Tyrion Lannister was voted the second most-popular would-be manager (12 percent), with the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, ranked third (9 percent). Shockingly, even Cersei Lannister received a few votes, with 2 percent of fans apparently okay with being managed by fear.

Overall, most employees would prefer their manager come from House Stark (43 percent) versus House Lannister (17 percent), with Arya Stark (7 percent) receiving the second-most votes for the North.

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.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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