March Madness Cuts Worker Productivity by 6 Hours

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Sports events notoriously rob businesses of worker productivity. Among the largest culprits are events that stretch on for days. The Super Bowl can only do so much damage because it is one event, staged on a Sunday. March Madness, which stretches over a period of days, dents businesses for over six hours of work time, according to a new survey.

According to research by giant staffing company Robert Half:

Employees are mad about sporting events like March Madness, suggests a new survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam. Professionals said they spend an average of 25.5 minutes per day on sports-related activities in the office during the college basketball playoffs. With the tournament spread across 15 workdays, that’s the equivalent of six hours per employee.

The worst problem is among mean male employees who spend 36 minutes a day absorbed in March Madness. People ages 18 to 34 are next at 34 minutes.

The study does not have any suggestions about what companies can do to combat the problem. Spying on PC and smartphone use over the course of every day during the tournament would be the only effective way to do it. Privacy laws may nix spying on smartphones. That means the time and productivity loss may not be preventable.

Maybe the only way to protect productivity is to cancel the tournament.

Methodology: The surveys were developed by OfficeTeam (part of Robert Half) and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers, 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.