Impeachment Hearings Are Costing Businesses $2.1 Billion/Hour In Lost Productivity

Millions of Americans are tuning in on company time

Members of the media watch the first public impeachment hearing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on November 13, in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Members of the media watch the first public impeachment hearing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on November 13, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / November 14, 2019 9:55 am

Millions of Americans tuned in yesterday to watch the beginning of the impeachment hearings against President Trump — many of them while they were at work. And according to an estimate by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, that’s costing American businesses roughly $2.1 billion per hour in lost productivity.

The firm arrived at the $2.1 billion number by relying on the following figures: the average hourly wage ($28.18), the number of Americans who use the internet at work (90,130,268), the percentage of employed Americans who work weekdays (89 percent), and the percentage of workers who say they discuss politics at work (94 percent).

“There’s likely not much employers can do to stymie workers’ interest in these hearings,” vice president Andrew Challenger said in a statement. “Workers can certainly bond over watching or monitoring historic proceedings like these. That said, the political division currently being experienced in the country may make watching these hearings with colleagues a charged experience.”

Ellen Ernst Kossek, a professor of management at Purdue University, told Fast Company that companies should have a policy in place about watching the hearings. “Our policy is, ‘You can’t watch it during the day. Tape it,'” she said. “Others might say, ‘If [you] can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It’s on in the conference room with food,’ and people take a break. People should be allowed to restructure [their time] for personal interests as long as the work gets done…It could be used as a team-building activity.”

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