A recent survey estimated 60 million Americans will partake in March Madness—known to some as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament—and while the tournament doesn’t get underway for a few days, the chaos for employers begins today. As you read this, some of your employees are researching teams and building brackets for workplace and non-workplace betting pools. Soon, they will be checking scores, updating brackets, and following teams throughout the tournament. It is estimated that these millions of March Madness participants are responsible for a loss in productivity of nearly $2 billion.
According to the experts, your odds of squelching workplace participation are only slightly better than the odds of putting together a perfect bracket. After all, even the president takes part.
Is there a silver lining to this loss of productivity? Some employers are using the tournament as a means of building camaraderie by offering free office pools or brackets. Not only can this boost morale, but it can foster interaction between co-workers who don’t normally cross paths.