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Most of the data is based on 2023, because experts have had a better chance to crunch the numbers, which are staggering.

  March Madness expected to cost billions in lost productivity

Beginning Thursday, March 21st, the United States, and even parts of the world, will be locked onto basketballs bouncing their way or not.

The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins, and besides making my wife mad because it pre-empts her CBS soap operas, business owners and managers will not be happy either.

There are many who will be sneaking extra time on their phone, or watching the TV in the break room at work, to see how their team or teams are doing.  Or, they will be checking their brackets to see if they are busted. All this distraction can actually be calculated into dollars.

   New study says an estimated $17.3 billion dollars will be lost

 Entrepreneur Online reports a new study put out by Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates the wasted time spent watching the tournament at work will cost billions. According to the report:

 "March Madness will cost employers $17.3 billion in lost productivity — up one billion from last year's number of $16.3. The estimate considered the number of Americans likely to keep up with the games and the approximate amount of time they'll spend filling out brackets and watching the tournament, then factoring in average hourly earnings — which as of February stood at $33.09, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

However, many HR and Worker Relations experts say rather than fight it, try to integrate it into your workplace by embracing it--within reason. Perhaps have a Madness themed event in the break room, or remind workers it's understood they want to watch, but emphasize they will need to keep up the pace.

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Provided workers are not slacking off for hours at a time, March Madness can actually boost morale. But, the lost productivity is still going to be in the tens of billions.


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