March Madness And Your Job: Can They Coexist?

03.17.11 7 years ago 7 Comments

The following may be a sensitive question for some. How are those picks looking? Seeing as how damn near every bracket went up in flames only hours after the tournament officially began – those four “first round” games do not count – it should go without saying college basketball is likely dominating the talk around the office. We all the know the running joke that with the onset of the world’s greatest postseason tournament often comes the lack of productivity at jobs across the country.

According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, that may not exactly be the case.

This year, the firm estimates that American employees will watch the tournament online for at least 8.4 million hours, which equals more than $192 million in wages. Last year, the firm told the world the number was $1.8 billion, by the way, which goes to show you how unscientific this number is.

The report gets a ton of press, but it’s rarely questioned. The horrible assumption that the firm makes is that it assumes that every minute we are “working,” we are productive, which of course is not true. Every day is filled with moments that we are doing something that our employers technically might not be paying us for.

How much time do we “waste” going to lunch? How much time do we “waste” checking our personal e-mail? Is there anyone in the world who can’t watch the games and work at the same time?

You get my point.

In fact, some think that this wasting of time watching March Madness, filling out brackets and talking about it, can actually add to workplace productivity.

Don Forsyth, a social psychologist who is a professor at University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies, is in that camp. He recently had a workshop with executive leaders who he asked to fill out brackets and said employers could actually learn from how employees fill out their sheet.

To learn how, head over to to read the rest of Rovell’s report.

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