Challenger: March Madness Steals Worker Productivity

March 1, 2004 ( - As employers turn their calendars over to welcome March, they also welcome a drop in productivity of $1.5 billion associated with the NCAA Men's College Basketball tournament, otherwise known as March Madness.

Beginning March 16, office walls will be adorned with tournament projections and workers will be Web surfing for scores. If during the 15 days of roundball nirvana, 10 minutes a day is spent talking about college hoops, employers could see an average $2.59 per worker hit to productivity, according to research conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Admittedly, Challenger says, not every worker in America will spend 10 minutes talking about the NCAA tournament. However, even if based solely on the 39.3 million workers who graduated from college, building an assumption to the number likely to have an interest in the college tournament, the amount of lost productivity could exceed $101.7 million for every 10 minutes spent on tournament chatter.

Over the span of the tournament, even if workers spend only 10 minutes each day talking about the tournament, employers will be fouled to the tune of $1.5 billion, up from last year’s $1.4 billion projection (See College Hoops Tournament Dunks Office Productivity ).