From: Adam Shell, USA Today
NCAA hoops and March Madness is a productivity killer at the office. The lost time employees spend crafting brackets, streaming games or checking scores, could reach $1.9 billion.
From the time the basketball tournament field of 68 teams is announced March 15 on Selection Sunday to the time the title game is played on April 6, “the cost in terms of lost wages paid to distracted and unproductive workers … could reach as high as $1.9 billion,” according to calculations by global outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas.
Blame it on “bracket mania.” Starting at work on Monday, March 16, corporate Internets will likely be clogged with workers trying to come up with the winning bracket for whatever betting pool they are involved in, says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger Gray & Christmas.
With roughly 60 million Americans filling out March Madness brackets, coupled with the fact that the first two days of the tournament will feature a dozen games during work hours, a big hit to worker productivity is a given, especially if undefeated and No. 1-ranked Kentucky (now 31-0) can keep its perfect record intact heading into the tournament.
The $1.9 billion in lost productivity sounds big, but the real number might even be bigger.
“That figure may be on the conservative side,” Challenger noted in a press release.
So should employers ban workplace bracket pools and block Web access to March Madness games broadcast online?
Challenger says, “Absolutely not.”
Why not? He says “any attempt to do so would most likely result in long-term damage to employee morale.”