The True Cost of March Madness to Employers: $134 Million!

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The first day of spring and of course, March Madness!

Chances are, by now you’ve already completed your brackets and while employees compete during the tourney, it turns out the NCAA men’s basketball romp will cost U.S. employers a ton of lost wages this week.

In fact, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, outplacement firm, indicated the three week tournament will cost employers a loss of $134 million in the first two days alone!  About one to three hours are spent at work watching games and two-thirds of all employees will follow the games during work hours.

Here’s the kicker: Despite lost wages, OfficeTeam conducted a separate survey, as pointed out by Time, and revealed the NCAA brackets don’t really have a negative impact on productivity. Approximately 75 percent said there wasn’t an impact at all and 16 percent mentioned there was a very positive or somewhat positive impact.

Maybe it’s all about an acceptance of March Madness into the overall culture of today’s workplace. And considering modern technology between accessing the internet at your fingertips and on your phone or insert other device here, there’s certainly no escaping it.

Daryl Pigat, spokesperson for OfficeTeam told Time, “As an employer, while hours may be 9 to 5 or 9 to 6, a great number of employees are doing things after hours they don’t even recognize or realize.”

He added, “An extended lunch or letting employees check in on games here and there can mean a lot for overall morale.”

So, maybe employees will be glued to the screens to  see how their teams are doing but maybe glancing at a score from time to time or sharing in the joy of victory with some colleagues isn’t such a bad thing after all.