The cost of March Madness distraction: $13.3 billion

This isn’t the sort of business-related distraction that I usually pay attention to, but the Guardian has a piece about how March Madness will cost businesses more than $13 billion in lost productivity:

your company is about to forgo about $13.3bn in lost productivity that March Madness will cost American businesses, according to a recent report from outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

“Streaming games during work hours, heading to a local restaurant to watch the games, filling out brackets, or just discussing the games with co-workers will mean hours of distractions during the three-week tournament,” Andrew Challenger, vice-president at the company, warned in a press release.

Here’s how they came up with that figure:

According to staffing firm OfficeTeam, workers spent 25.5 minutes of their workday on March Madness-related activities. That’s 6.375 hours spent during the 15 weekdays beginning with Selection Sunday on March 17 and ending with the National Championship on April 8.

Meanwhile, a 2018 survey conducted by TSheets by quickbooks found 48 percent of workers work on their brackets at work. With 156,949,000 employed Americans, that is 75,335,520 workers engaged in March Madness activities while on the clock.

If 75 million workers spend 6.375 hours of work time on the tournament, the cost to employers in productivity loss is $13,284,100,580.

Part of what makes March Madness so distracting, as my wife points out, is that it features multiple games per day for weeks at a time, the prospect of Cinderella teams having wonderful surprising upsets before being crushed by Duke, a continuous drama that’s the sports world’s closest equivalent to Love Island.

Interestingly, they don’t advocate shutting off the Internet or doing anything radical, but rather rolling with it, partly for team-building, and partly to attract The Youth of Today:

“The tournament is a perfect opportunity for colleagues to bond in the workplace. Any attempt to keep workers from the games would most likely result in real damage to employee morale, loyalty, and engagement that would far outweigh any short-term benefit to productivity,” he added.

“Company-wide office pools that are free to enter and offer lunches or gift cards to the winners are a great way to use the games to create a fun atmosphere at work. Employers can also set up a television or computer monitor where workers can gather to watch the games.”

“To give workers the ability to watch full games, employers could consider giving employees extended lunches or offering longer breaks at other times throughout the day to allow them to catch games that interest them. Employers could also offer telecommuting options so workers who are able can have the games on in the background at home as they work.”…

“In a tight labor market, companies can use the tournament for recruiting, promoting how the office celebrates March Madness. This could be especially effective among Millennial and Gen Z workers.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up