All of the interest in Monday’s solar eclipse has a cost — for employers.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates the cost will be $694 million when it comes to lost productivity, according to television station KGTV in San Diego.
The United States had its first total solar eclipse since 1979, a path that was 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina.
The company estimated people will need about 20 minutes to get ready to watch what will be a two- to two-and-a-half minute event. Using hourly wage and other data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Challenger estimated that the cost could be $700 million.
Challenger estimated about 87.3 million workers will be on the clock during the eclipse.
It’s not quite as much as Challenger predicted the 2017 NCAA Tournament to cost — up to $2.1 billion — but the eclipse is expected to be much shorter than weeks-long tournament.
“That is not to say employers need to board their windows and keep employees locked up in conference room meetings until the eclipse ends. Rather, looking for how to turn this lack of productivity into a way to increase morale and strengthen the team is a much better use of the eclipse,” Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said in a news release.