March 16, 2015
It’s March and employees nationwide are filling out their brackets in their March Madness office pool. Online sports sites like ESPN.com and CBSSports.com have bracket challenges offering prizes up to $10,000. USA Today has a whole section about the tournament and even offers unique bracket stats and tips.
Once games begin on March 19, 32 games are played in 36 hours. That means that during most business hours, four games are on simultaneously as employees check scores and stream video on their computers and mobile devices. In 2006, the NCAA added the first “Boss Button” so viewers could appear to be doing work when their boss walked past their desk.
Each year consultants try to put a dollar amount on the country’s lost productivity. The most recent estimate by Challenger, Gray, and Christmas indicates that March Madness costs the country $1.2 billion for each unproductive hour.
While employees will spend time filling out brackets and streaming games, the Challenger report suggests managers should not clamp down on March Madness activities, or risk hurting employee morale. In a survey of managers, only 11% said that it decreases productivity.
Although basketball is only a game, March Madness is one way to allow employees to experience a little camaraderie within the office. They can cheer on their home-town favorite, root for the Cinderella team together, or even have a friendly inter-office rivalry.
They can dream of billion-dollar payouts while only investing a few minutes online. The Tournament only comes around once a year. Embrace it and enjoy it!