Fantasy football, the Super Bowl Christmas shopping and March Madness: What do they all have in common?
They’re all huge distractions from work. One firm’s study says March Madness will cost millions in productivity – $134 million to be exact.
With the NCAA tournament already in full swing, some firms may start wondering if their workers have their full undivided attention. The truth? Probably not.
After all, just Google the phrase “March Madness work” and the first few results include “How to watch March Madness at work” and “How to Watch March Madness Without Getting Fired From Your Job.”
Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc., an outplacement firm, released a study that says 33% of employees will spend one to three hours during the first two days of the tournament watching college hoops at work, ultimately costing their respective employers $134 million in “lost wages.” By these numbers, it sounds like it could be worse than employees chatting about the Super Bowl.
John Challenger, CEO of the firm, was quick to point out that when compared to much more important matters like the sequester, March Madness will obviously not factor into the overall economy at all. But, he says in the release, it will impact workflow as employees organize office pools and spend time collecting money and printing out blank brackets.
Prepare for the madness
Some of this concern is legitimate, while other sources of concern may not be. For instance, worrying about “lost wages” due to distractions is a worry that could apply all year round. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are the biggest time-killers for employees, so if anything they’ll just be swapping out distractions.
However, there is a concern with multiple computers and mobile devices on the same network streaming video of live games, minimizing the level of distraction as much as possible, and staying legal when it comes to those office betting pools.
Here are some tips from HRMorning.com:
- Turn on the tube. Consider setting up a TV in the break room, lunch room, cafeteria, etc., during lunch hours. This way everyone can get their fill. But keep a firm shut-down time so that employees aren’t camping out all day.
- Turn off the dress code. Get workers in the spirit by letting them wear their old college gear and some jeans around the office.
- Stay legal. Though it’s unlikely you’ll all face criminal time over your small office bracket pools, better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, keep the brackets on paper, keep the stakes low (under $20) and make sure no one under 18 is participating.