COLUMBUS, Ohio —  According to a recent study by the career coaching firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, employers could lose $17.3 billion dollars in workplace productivity during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

What You Need To Know

  • A recent study shows that employers could see a $17.3 billion dollar loss in productivity the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

  • A survey shows that almost a third of employees watch or interact with tournament games during company time 

  • Human resource professionals suggest employers focus on company morale and completed work rather than hours clocked in

This is about $1 billion higher than last year. The decline in productivity is because of employees watching the game at work or taking extended lunches. 

According to a recent study by Paychex, a company that specializes in payroll services and human resources, 28% of employees have watched March Madness while at work. That same study saw 22% decreased productivity and 21% misuse of company resources. While almost a third of those in the survey reported watching the tournament during work hours, more than half said that they were not reprimanded. 

One human resource expert said that employers should use the tournament as a time to boost morale, especially in a time where layoffs have increased. 

“In a time when employee engagement is, you know, linked actually to productivity, what a great way to bring people together who have different interests,” said Colleen Pfaller, who is the principle of human resources consulting at One Digital. “Anybody can be involved, whether you’re remote or in person, and you don’t even really need to know much about basketball. It’s just something fun that everyone can do together.” 

Pfaller also suggests employers focus on results rather than hours spent working. 

“It’s just normal business protocol,” said Pfaller. “You know, look at your hand and look at your policies and procedures. Look at your past practices and how you’ve handled those things both in and outside of March Madness and act consistently. Don’t make this a target time to kind of start addressing those things.”