Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Beware. March madness may sap worker productivity

Posted by: Dee DePass under Workplace issues, Sports, Basketball Updated: March 3, 2012 - 4:18 PM

Labor market experts have a warning for employers, Beware the madness!

College basketball's annual March madness sucks up about 90 minutes of workers' attention for every day of the games according to the employment outplacement giant Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The firm estimates that about 2.5 million workers will watch the basketball  bonanza by streaming the games online or watching TV. That’s a lot of downtime.

"The annual NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball championship tournament, affectionately known as March Madness, kicks off in less than two weeks and companies around the country know what that means: it is time once again to remind employees that streaming live video slows down everyone’s Internet speed," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger Gray and Christmas.

Based on last year’s data, online March Madness coverage could attract more than 2.5 million unique visitors per day, each spending an average of 90 minutes watching games.  With private-sector workers earning an average of $23.29 per hour, Challenger estimates that employers will end up paying distracted workers about $175 million over the first two full days of the tournament.
Cost aside,"The company’s Internet speeds may be slower, some workers will not respond to e-mails as promptly, and lunch breaks may extend beyond the usual time limits.  It’s mostly a headache-inducing annoyance for information technology departments, human resources and department managers,” Challenger said.
 

 

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