Questions often arise at this time of the year as to whether true “March Madness” takes place on the nation’s round ball courts or rather in corporate cubicles and board rooms from coast to coast.
Consider the daily discussions of team selections and bracket comparisons. Now contemplate the actual number of hours which will be spent organizing, operating, and participating in the office pools surrounding each game and level of competition.
The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says employers could see as much as $1.7 billion dollars in lost productivity over the next few weeks, as the tournament proceeds. The calculation includes estimates on participation in the pools, worker wages and the amount of work-time possibly spent on basketball-related activities. Some businesses are trying to limit the ability of workers to stream video on their work computers to keep their systems from seeing too much bandwidth wasted.
Under normal circumstances, $1.7 billion can obviously make a dramatic impact on the business environment. However, consider today’s critical economic status in most every industry and that $1.7 billion presents an even greater threat and “March Madness” takes on an all new meaning.