Solar Eclipse Absenteeism: A $700 Million Blow to US Employers

people outside watching a total eclipse with glasses

Maximizing the Solar Eclipse: A Strategic Guide for DFW Businesses

As the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area prepares for the upcoming Solar Eclipse on April 8, businesses face a familiar challenge: balancing the excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime event with maintaining productivity. Drawing from the insights of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., and lessons from the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, there’s a unique opportunity for DFW employers to turn this potential challenge into a beneficial experience.

Understanding the Productivity Impact

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.’s analysis of the 2017 Eclipse offers critical insights:

Estimated Productivity Loss

The 2017 Eclipse was projected to cost US employers approximately $694 million in lost productivity, considering the time workers would spend observing the Eclipse.

Local Impact

Specific areas, especially those directly in the path of the Eclipse, experienced significant disruptions, with estimates of nearly $200 million in lost productivity in these regions alone.

A Call for Creative Solutions

Rather than viewing the Eclipse as a mere disruption, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. encouraged employers to use it as an opportunity for team building and morale boosting.


The Basics of a Total Solar Eclipse

Most of us have never witnessed a Total Solar Eclipse (the last total solar Eclipse in DFW was on July 29, 1878). Let’s review what exactly happens, particularly the phase leading up to Totality, as it presents an interesting public interest and engagement dynamic.

Dallas Total Eclipse Times on April 8, 2024:

Begins: 12:23 PM
Totality: 1:40 PM
Ends: 3:02 PM
Total Duration: 2 hours, 39 Minutes
Total Totality Duration : 3 Minutes, 52 SeconDS

Arlington Times on April 8, 2024:

Begins: 12:22 PM
Totality: 1:40 PM
Ends: 3:02 PM
Total Duration: 2 hours, 39 Minutes
Total Totality Duration: 3 Minutes & 19.8 Seconds

Fort Worth Times on April 8, 2024:

Begins: 12:22 PM
Totality: 1:40 PM
Ends: 3:01 PM
Total Duration: 2 hours & 39 Minutes
Totality Duration: 2 Minutes & 42.8 Seconds

You can view 300 more DFW cities Eclipse times on Total Eclipse DFW:

The Beginning – Partial Eclipse: 

People can view a partial Eclipse about an hour before Totality.

For the next hour or so, the Eclipse unfolds slowly and gradually. The Moon continues to cover more and more of the Sun, and this unhurried pace allows observers ample time to watch the Eclipse and take in the changing environment around them. 

 As the Moon covers more and more of the Sun, sunlight weakens, and subtle shifts occur in the surroundings – the sky’s color transforms. Unique visual phenomena can be observed, such as the projection of crescent sun images through natural and artificial objects.

As the Eclipse progresses and a significant part of the Sun is covered, a noticeable change in the quality of light brings about an almost eerie or peculiar ambiance.

This change also affects animal behavior, with many starting to act as if nightfall is approaching. Many animals and insects begin to act like it is time for bed.

Additionally, as Totality nears, you will probably experience a noticeable drop in temperature and changes in wind patterns.

It’s very, very important that during this time, people viewing the partial Eclipse wear protective eyewear that is ISO-compliant.

While the partial Eclipse is scientifically fascinating, it has been observed, notably in events like the 2017 Eclipse and the 2023 Annular Eclipse, that continuous watching of this phase is relatively rare among the general public. The gradual change in the Sun’s appearance doesn’t hold the same dramatic appeal as the moments of Totality.


For people in Dallas, at 1:40 PM, you will experience Totality. Totality occurs when the Moon and Sun perfectly align, truly the event’s centerpiece. The sky darkens, and the few minutes of Totality is the only time Eclipse viewers can remove their protective glasses.

According to the American Astronomical Society, “Sky darkness during Totality varies from Eclipse to Eclipse. How dark it gets depends on the Moon’s angular size relative to the Sun’s (or, equivalently, the width of the Moon’s dark shadow), the presence or absence of clouds, and how close your site is to the centerline. Just outside the path of Totality, the Sun is still shining, albeit dimly. This feeble light creates a beautiful 360° sunrise/sunset glow around the horizon. Don’t miss it!”

Dr. Kate Russo, the founder of Being in the Shadow, says, “Often immediately after an Eclipse, particularly a first Eclipse, people are left speechless. After reflection, however, most people can name the range of emotions they feel.

Here are some more comments about the Eclipse in November 2012:

· The experience during Totality is hard to explain in words, video or photos, it’s something you have to be there to experience.

·     If you weren’t aware of the Eclipse, you would think something cataclysmic was happening, a very eerie feeling.

·     It was fabulous watching the kids watching the Eclipse and excitedly dancing.

·     I think there is something unique about the “awe-inspiring” feeling that you get simply because it is such a rare occurrence in most people’s lives.

·     I think I understand what is meant by ‘primal fear.’

·     I felt total calm, as though everything was right in the world, and the Moon and Sun did align as I had expected.

·     I felt so lucky and privileged to have the opportunity to see this event.

·     Seeing images, webcasts etc are great, and the imagery is amazing. But being there, seeing it and feeling the emotion was amazing.

·     I felt exhilarated and could only look at the Totality; in retrospect, I wish I had looked around me more, but it was almost hypnotic.

·     I was surprised to see just how much light a sliver of the Sun provides to our earth. I was very surprised at the sky going completely black for that minute or so. It was wonderful to look up without solar protection and gaze at the spectacle of no sun!!

We recently interviewed Debra Ross, the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force co-chair. You can hear her describe her first experience with Totality in 2014 here: Why People Say Experiencing A Total Solar Eclipse is Life-changing. 

Why Employers Will Benefit From a Planned Eclipse Day

The total duration of the Eclipse, particularly the most engaging phase of Totality, is relatively brief – a little more than an hour. Given this short timeframe, it may be optional for employees to take an entire day off. 

The peak moments of interest and engagement, which are the most sought after, are concentrated around the Totality phase and occur 2024 around the lunch hour.

By accommodating the viewing of the Eclipse at the workplace, employers can significantly minimize the productivity loss resulting from a full day’s absence. This approach allows employees to experience the event without compromising a day’s work.

Hosting a viewing event at the workplace can be an excellent team-building exercise. It provides a unique opportunity for employee engagement and can boost morale, fostering a sense of community and shared experience among the staff.

Since the interest typically declines after the Totality phase, employees are likely to be ready to resume their regular duties soon after. This efficient use of time is beneficial for maintaining the workflow and productivity levels.

A Proactive Plan for Employers and the April 8 Total Eclipse in DFW

Based on these insights, Total Eclipse DFW proposes a strategic plan for DFW businesses to harness the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse:

Timed Breaks

Aligning breaks with the Eclipse schedule is a smart move. It allows employees to experience the peak moments of the Eclipse without disrupting the entire workday. This scheduling can be communicated in advance, ensuring everyone knows when they can take a break to observe the Eclipse, thus maintaining a balance between work commitments and the unique experience of the Eclipse.

Organized Viewing

Hosting an event is about providing a communal experience and ensuring safety. Providing ISO-compliant Eclipse glasses ensures that participants can safely enjoy the spectacle without risking eye damage. The emphasis on communal participation fosters a sense of unity and shared experience among employees. Given the anticipated high demand for Eclipse glasses, early procurement is crucial to avoid shortages.

Company-Wide Lunch

A company-wide lunch at 12:30 PM is an excellent way to unite employees. It provides a relaxed setting for employees to socialize and build camaraderie before the Eclipse begins. This could also be an opportune time to disseminate information about the Eclipse, ensuring everyone understands the phenomenon they are about to witness.

Inclusive Experience

Extending the invitation to employees’ families can significantly enhance the communal spirit of the event. It allows employees to share a rare celestial event with their loved ones, creating memorable experiences. This inclusion demonstrates the company’s commitment to its employees’ well-being and family life, potentially boosting morale and loyalty.

Educational and Fun Activities

Incorporating educational aspects elevates the event from merely a viewing party to a learning experience. This could include short presentations on the science of Eclipses, their historical significance, and safe viewing practices. Fun activities could range from Eclipse-themed games to creative contests, keeping the engagement levels high and making the event enjoyable for all ages.

Eclipse Swag for Lasting Memories

Enhance the Eclipse experience by providing themed swag, like custom T-shirts, hats, or commemorative pins. This adds to the event’s excitement and serves as a lasting memento for employees, reinforcing positive memories associated with the experience and the company.

two people walking outside

Turning A Potential Challenge Into A Multifaceted Opportunity That Benefits Both The Brand And Its Employees

Here are the top five benefits for employers to include their employees in observing the Eclipse:

Minimizing Productivity Loss

The Total Eclipse, particularly its Totality phase, is a brief event, lasting a little more than an hour. By allowing employees to view Eclipse at work, employers can significantly reduce the loss in productivity compared to if employees had taken the entire day off. This strategy ensures that the peak moments of interest, concentrated around the Totality phase, are enjoyed without significantly impacting work obligations.

Enhancing Team Building and Morale

Hosting an Eclipse viewing event at the workplace can be an excellent team-building exercise. Such an event offers a unique opportunity for employee engagement, boosting morale and fostering a sense of community and shared experience among staff members.

Efficient Use of Time

Given that interest in the Eclipse typically declines after the Totality phase, employees will likely be ready to resume their regular duties soon after. This efficient use of time is beneficial for maintaining workflow and productivity levels.

Providing a Safe and Inclusive Experience

By organizing an Eclipse viewing event, employers can ensure a safe viewing experience for their employees, mainly by providing ISO-compliant Eclipse glasses. Extending the invitation to employees’ families can enhance the communal spirit of the event and demonstrate the company’s commitment to its employees’ well-being and family life.

Incorporating Educational and Fun Activities

An Eclipse event can be more than just a viewing party; it can be a learning experience. Employers can include educational aspects about the science of Eclipses, their historical significance, and safe viewing practices. Additionally, fun activities like Eclipse-themed games or creative contests can keep engagement levels high and make the event enjoyable for all ages.

While it may have yet to be widely considered, this alternative approach offers a balanced solution to the challenge posed by the Total Solar Eclipse. It addresses potential productivity concerns and enhances workplace culture, making the most of this unique astronomical event right here in Dallas-Fort Worth.