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Shed a tear for Leafs Nation

But don’t worry about productivity losses today – all the happy Senators fans (and the legions of Leaf-haters) will pick up the slack

By Todd Humber

Oh, Leafs Nation. How do you recover from that one?

In thousands of workplaces across the Greater Toronto Area, and across the country for that matter, diehard fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs look like the walking wounded this morning.

Employees who so proudly donned the blue-and-white yesterday in the workplace are slumped silently in their cubicles this morning.

They’re shellshocked. Stunned. Dumbfound. Astonished. (Roget’s Thesaurus doesn’t have enough entries to cover all the emotions.)

A 4-1 lead with 10 minutes to go is insurmountable. At least it’s supposed to be, but somebody forgot to tell that to the Leafs and the Boston Bruins. Boston pulled within two, and then scored two empty net goals in the final 90 seconds. Seriously, how often does that happen?

Or, as the headline writers on Boston.com put it, “Yes… that really happened last night.”

To put the icing on the cake for the wretched and cursed Maple Leafs, Boston scored in overtime to take Game 7 and send the Leafs, yet again, on a spring quest to lower their golf handicap.

I’m always amused by the tongue-in-cheek research that often comes out, calculating the bottom-line cost of major sporting events or cultural events for employers when it comes to lost productivity of workers.

In March, for example, Chicago-based consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas did the math on how much March Madness — the annual college basketball tournament south of the border — impacts employers.

A survey found that nearly one-third of workers spend at least three hours per day following the tournament during work hours.

It pegged the cost of March Madness on American companies at US$134 million over the first two days of the tournament.

“At the end of the day, March Madness will not even register as a blip in the overall economy,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “But, if you ask department managers and corporate IT managers, March Madness will definitely have an impact on the flow of work, particularly during the first week of the tournament… When the games begin around noon, eastern time, on Thursday, many companies will probably notice a significant drop in Internet speeds, as employees start streaming games and clogging up the network’s bandwidth.”

Productivity is, no doubt, down today among the Leaf faithful. But managers north of the 49th parallel don’t need to sweat it. There are plenty of gleeful Ottawa Senators fans — the last Canadian hope for a Stanley Cup win this year — bouncing around the office, ready to pick up the slack.

Not to mention all those fans of the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens who are wallowing with glee in the Buds’ ongoing misery.

But, don't despair, Leafs fans. There’s always next year…

Todd Humber is the managing editor of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management, and a bandwagon jumper for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He can be reached at todd.humber@thomsonreuters.com or visit www.hrreporter.com for more information.

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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