DFW employers urged to act now to avoid record absenteeism during eclipse

DALLAS — All around North Texas preparations are in place for the sun to disappear in the middle of the day. We’re talking, of course, about the total solar eclipse happening on April 8.

“This is huge, HUGE!” stresses Jo Trizila with Total Eclipse DFW with her trademark enthusiasm. “And if we don’t plan appropriately, A, we won’t have workers. Or B, we’ll have so many people on the streets that nobody can get to the events.”

So Trizila is urging employers to prepare. Those that can are being encouraged to allow staffers to work from home to mitigate the expected traffic impact of having the population of Dallas swell by approximately 20% over a weekend.

“That’s a lot of people,” says Trizila. “1.5 million people.”

Oh my.

The eclipse’s economic impact is expected to be out of this world as well.  According to the Perryman Group, the overall economic impact for Texas is expected to be almost $1.4 billion. Much of that cash coming from spending at restaurants and hotels.

“We have been sold out not only Monday, but Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday,” says Marisol Lopez at The Canvas Hotel in downtown Dallas. “Since last year.”

The sold-out hotel a welcome boost in April, says, Lopez.  She says she didn’t need reminders to make sure they’re fully staffed. She’s secured eclipse glasses for staffers and plans to include them in the rooftop party so they won’t miss what will be for most, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We know the significance of this event and know it will be a memorable event for them,” Lopez said. “So they would definitely be a part of this with us on Monday.”

It is, she says, a part of the company’s culture.  And history has shown, that including the employees in the eclipse plan is also good business.

“What they found out in 2017 is a lot of employees called in sick that day,” explains Trizila. “A LOT. Like, we’re talking in the hundreds of millions of dollars it cost employers.”

Trizila says absenteeism could take some of the ‘wind’ out of the expected economic windfall. So she’s urging employers to act now.

“It’s not too late. Employers could do us such a huge service if they would, if they would, communicate to their staff that, ‘yes, we are going to do this together. We’re encouraging all of you to bring a brown bag lunch to work with you. We’ll go outside on the lawn or in the parking lot, or wherever. Bring your chair from home and we’ll do this as a group.’ It can be a team-building experience.”

Local News Business – CBS Dallas Fort Worth