IT Management Slideshow: March Madness: The Great Productivity Killer

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 03-18-2011

8.4 million hours

U.S. workers will collectively spend 8.4 million hours watching March Madness games from their offices, according to the Challenger, Gray, and Christmas study.

8.4 million hours

$192 million

Multiply those 8.4 million hours by the average hourly earnings of $22.87 among private-sector workers, and the financial impact in the private sector exceeds $192 million, according to Challenger, Gray, and Christmas.

$192 million

$1.8 billion

The Challenger, Gray and Christmas study estimates that $1.8 billion was paid in wages in 2010 to people who didn't perform their work because they were watching games in the office.

$1.8 billion

8.3 million streams

Your employees can easily stream NCAA games over the Web. Last year, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 8.3 million people streamed games from the Internet.

8.3 million streams

11.7 million hours

Those who streamed games over the Web collectively spent a total of 11.7 million hours viewing online in 2010. That averages about 1.4 hours per person, and represents a 36 percent gain over March Madness 2009, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

11.7 million hours

Mobilitys rise

With CBS Sports expanding its reach this year by providing free mobile apps, Challenger estimates that total viewership will increase to 14 million hours in 2011, a 20 percent increase over 2010.

Mobilitys rise

The first four days

80 percent of the streaming viewership occurred during the first four days of the tournament.

The first four days

Keep it in perspective

Over the three weeks of the tournament, the nation's 108 million workers will have logged more than 11 billion hours of work. The 8.4 million hours lost to March Madness account for less than one-tenth of one percent (about 0.07 percent) of the total hours American workers will put in over the three weeks of the tournament, says Challenger.

Keep it in perspective

Every office is different

For an office with 50 to 100 workers, five or 10 workers streaming basketball games will definitely have an impact on everyone else's Internet speed, according to the Challenger report.

Every office is different

What can you do?

1. Start blocking sites that will stream the games. 2. Prohibit the use of NCAA apps on mobile devices. 3. Keep a close eye on employee activity to see if anyone is breaking the rules.4. Conversely, you can go ahead and let everyone have their fun, with the understanding that it's back-to-business once March Madness ends.

What can you do?