DailyMail: We’re on the final countdown to hoops heaven as March Madness tips off later this week. But it just been revealed how much money and time U.S. businesses will lose when employees are watching basketball instead of pounding the keyboard. Incredibly, the survey by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, calculates that nearly one-third of workers will spend at least three hours per day following the college tournament during work time. Over the first two days of the competition it is estimated that U.S. companies will lose at least $134 million in wages while employees are watching basketball instead. A drop in productivity is inevitable as the study estimates that 3.0 million employees will spend one to three hours watching games at work. ‘It is surprising when you see just how big the numbers are and how big the impact can be,’ Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told The Huffington Post. ‘We know that because games take place during the work day and with the Internet so widespread now, its easy for workers to get distracted,’ he continued. But maybe you shouldn’t feel that bad about peeking at the matches while at work. Challenger says: ‘At the end of the day, March Madness will not even register as a blip in the overall economy.’ ‘Sequestration is going to have a far bigger impact. Will March Madness even have an effect on a company’s bottom line? Not at all,’ Challenger added. But he does admit that ‘definitely have an impact on the flow of work, particularly during the first week. Starting the day after selection Sunday, people will be organizing office pools, researching teams and planning viewing parties. When the games begin around noon, eastern time, on Thursday, many companies will probably notice a significant drop in Internet speeds, as employees start streaming games and clogging up the network’s bandwidth,’ Challenger continued. Yet, if managers let staff engage in some March Madness on the work dime it may actually be good for business in the long-run. If workers have the freedom to watch basketball during the day, it may well increase employee happiness, which ultimately increases productivity and work output. ‘It takes managers taking a step back and recognizing that today really we measure people’s output in the amount of work people do and the quality of work they do rather than the time they spend actually doing the work itself,’ Challenger said to The Huffington Post. But this is only true if the employees actually turn up to the office. Challenger, Gray & Christmas quoted another piece of research by MSN and Impulse Research. This study read that seven percent of those asked said they take time off from work to watch March Madness. A higher figure – twelve percent of respondents – admitted to calling in sick in previous years in order to catch some college basketball.
$134 million? That’s it? First of all I have no idea where they come up with these numbers and second of all it has to be more than $134 million. In my past experience the first 2 days of this tournament have absolutely paralyzed my office. I’m talking people flat out watching games on the kitchen TV, live streaming off the internet, and even people going to the games. Yea, I come in and make it look like I’m busy but in reality I got one game playing on my computer, one game on my cell phone, and constantly hitting refresh on my bracket homepage. Productivity doesn’t exist which is even more ironic since I work in production. And the kicker that makes everything even worse–the fact that games are now aired on 4 different networks. I’m gonna say $200 million goes to waste around the country and that’s probably low balling.