By Dinte
March 20, 2014

March Madness is here! A time when millions of individuals spend countless hours analyzing match-ups, filling out brackets, and streaming live action, all from the comfort of their office chairs.  You know who they are - the people in the office who spend their days checking score updates on espn.com but have that “important” excel document open just in case the boss walks by.

Each year, the NCAA tournament captures the attention of millions of people and as a result, employee productivity takes a hit.  According to a 2012 MSN online survey, 56% of respondents planned to devote at least one hour of work to March Madness activities which means companies could stand to lose nearly $1.9B (based on average hourly wage of $24.31 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics) for each hour spent on tournament related activities.

Numerous organizations have attempted to combat low productivity during March Madness by restricting access to certain websites and resources. However, as alternate platforms such as tablets and mobile devices become available, it is increasingly difficult for organizations to monitor consumption. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SOASTA, 51% of employed fans plan to utilize their mobile and tablet devices for tournament related activities while at work.

Rather than eliminating its access, many companies have embraced March Madness activities in the office claiming its positive impact on overall employee engagement, morale, and loyalty.  According to a survey conducted by OfficeTeam, 32% of senior managers interviewed believed that NCAA Tournament related activities actually increase employee morale and 27% felt it had a positive impact on employee productivity.  Company office pools have become increasingly popular over recent years as a way to not only foster relationships across an organization, but to also increase employee engagement and loyalty. In fact, a 2009 Microsoft survey indicated an estimated 50 million Americans will participate in an NCAA Tournament office pool.  

So where does your organization stand on the March Madness topic? How do you perceive mobile and tablet devices will impact future consumption of the tournament?

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