Use Total Eclipse to Shine Up Employee Engagement

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for most Americans, and consultants agree that Monday’s total solar eclipse is a unique opportunity for employers to engage their employees.

Most employees, and even executives, won’t be traveling in a Learjet to view the total eclipse, as the target of Carly Simon’s sarcastic 1973 hit “You’re So Vain” did. But more modest activities can be a fun team-building experience.

“Managers and employers can create a break or some type of activity,” Brandi Britton, district president of Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm OfficeTeam, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 16. She suggested putting the eclipse in departmental calendars, holding potlucks, and “even allowing fun clothing.” Some businesses are buying their employees the special safety glasses needed to view the sun, she added.

“You can boost morale for a two-minute event that doesn’t happen very often,” Britton said. The period of “totality” along the eclipse’s path in the continental U.S. is nowhere longer than two minutes, 40 seconds.

Autumn Manning, founder and chief executive officer of Austin, Texas-based employee experience company YouEarnedIt, said that several of her “remote” employees are in the path of the total eclipse. “We are encouraging employees to go out, take a picture, and share it online and via video,” she told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 16.

Employers should explain why they can’t grant time off to view the eclipse if their business needs dictate that, attorneys Richard Meneghello and Travis Vance of management-side law firm Fisher Phillips wrote in a blog post. In the rare case that an employee claims viewing the eclipse is a religious mandate for him or her, check with legal counsel, they said.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has suggestions for eclipse parties at

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Chris Opfer at

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