March Madness Ignites Office Pool Fever

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 03-21-2014 Email

If your tech team seems a bit, um, distracted this week, don't worry: It's only because of that beloved, annual rite of spring known as March Madness. That's when the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament kicks off, inspiring an estimated 50 million Americans to take part in March Madness office bracket-selection pools. Typically, the designated department tourney guy collects cash from participating coworkers, who attempt to forecast which teams will keep advancing in the win-or-go-home matchups. Given there are 68 college teams taking part—and multiple games played on multiple screens simultaneously during office hours—employees can get a bit, well, crazy during the first week of the three-week tournament. The impact on productivity? The jury is mixed here, as some research indicates that March Madness causes a major drain in output, costing U.S. companies boatloads of money. But many experts, as well as bosses, have concluded that the event is a fairly harmless diversion, and the wealth of interest among coworkers can serve as a team-building opportunity. So with the hoopla underway, we're presenting the following participation figures from CareerBuilder (and you may be surprised to discover how high interest is among IT pros). As an amusing add-on here, CareerBuilder has also compiled the following unusual real-life office pools that employees have started, but which have nothing to do with college hoops. The participation statistics and additional research are based upon a CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 workers.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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