March Madness Impact on the Office

By CNN News Wire

Published 03/18 2014 06:23AM

Updated 03/18 2014 09:14AM

College sports fans love it. Some bosses, hate it. As March Madness gets underway, daytime games and office pools could temporarily put work on the sidelines.

As the annual NCAA men's basketball tournament tips off, so does the annual frenzy of basketball bracket, with competition on the court often extending to the office.

Each year, employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas crunches the numbers on how much productivity is lost to workers watching daytime games, surfing the web, staying up late for nighttime games and managing their pools.

By their calculations:

*50 million Americans will craft a bracket.

*multiply that by an average hourly wage of 24 dollars and 31 cents.

*and there's the potential loss of $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour.

Still most workplace experts encourage employers to embrace March Madness, rather than clamp down on it.

Experts say managers should embrace the tournament as an opportunity to boost employee morale.  Besides, it's just a few days out of the year, and in the era of smartphones and streaming content, most sports fans will find a way to turn work day into game day anyway.

(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)

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