10:26 am March 9, 2011, by Henry Unger
March Madness can be costly to employers — to the tune of more than $192 million in lost worker productivity, according to one estimate.
Extra games and wider access to coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball championship on smart phones and tablets could increase workplace distractions during this year’s tournament, outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.
Challenger estimates that total online viewership during work hours is likely to reach at least 8.4 million hours. Multiply that figure by the average hourly earnings of $22.87 among private-sector workers and the financial impact exceeds $192 million, Challenger said.
But the CEO of the firm, John Challenger, put that number in perspective.
“At first glance, 8.4 million hours of lost productivity seems like it would deliver a crushing blow to the economy,” Challenger said in a statement. “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 is a relative drop in the bucket, accounting for less than one-tenth of one percent … of the total hours American workers will put in over the three weeks of the tournament.”
Still, he added, “if you ask department managers or IT staff whether March Madness has a noticeable effect on productivity, they are likely to answer in the affirmative.”
How would you answer?
- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.
Get inside Atlanta's and national business news and how it affects you.
Vacation stops, manage subscriptions and more