There is some concern that March Madness may impact productivity at Long Island jobs, among other locations.
Millions of workers across the country will likely spend company time researching teams and making their picks. This activity could cost employers over $600 million, according to one more conservative estimate.
More than 40 million Americans fill out tournament brackets, according to the American Gaming Association. Applying the current employment to population ratio to that figure, 23.7 million workers will fill out brackets for this year’s games.
Of course, the distractions do not end with filling out the bracket. Even more productivity is lost over the first two full days of tournament play (Thursday and Friday), when a dozen games are played during work hours.
While this annual tradition has become commonplace in the American office, there is a cost in terms of lost wages paid to distracted and unproductive workers. This year, the cost could reach as high as $2.1 billion, according to calculations by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“While television viewership for last year’s tournament and for NCAA games overall was lower than previous years, the economy has created more workers and a higher hourly wage, which could equate to higher costs to employers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“In the current political climate, more American workers might welcome this distraction leading to an even higher cost to productivity,” added Challenger.
Challenger’s estimate is based on the number of working Americans who are likely to be caught up in March Madness; the estimated time spent filling out brackets and streaming games; and average hourly earnings, which, in January, stood at $26.00, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The challenge is estimating the number of people who participate in March Madness pools. A 2015 estimate from the American Gaming Association estimated 40 million Americans fill out 70 million brackets. A 2014 article at Smithsonian.com put the number of Americans “filling out brackets” at 60 million.