March Madness and Productivity: Bad for Businesses

Basketball on a court floor

It’s March, which means the first round of the 2014 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball championship tournament, known as March Madness, is in less than three weeks. During the NCAA Tournament, employees will once again convert into viewers – streaming online with their computers, squinting at their smartphones or constantly clicking for updates and bets. And, from the results of last year’s March Madness, employers have more reasons to be afraid of their employees giving up production in favor of watching live-streaming college basketball games.

According to a report released by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, March Madness resulted in a loss of $175 million in “lost wages “over the first two days of the NCAA Tournament. An infographic of the report reveals that 86% of employees will spend at least some time at work keeping track of the games, up from 81% last year. Not only will an employee streaming a game affect their own day-job, it will also affect others. The report indicated that 30% of bandwidth can be consumed by a single user watching one video.

“The company’s Internet speeds may be slower, some workers will not respond to emails as promptly, and lunch breaks may extend beyond the usual time limits. It’s mostly a headache-inducing annoyance for information technology departments, human resources and department managers.” said John A. Challenger.

So what should a business do to decrease distraction during March Madness?

Take proactive steps.

Businesses need to embrace freedom as a way to build workplace morale – but not too much. This could mean simply putting televisions in the lunch room, so employees have somewhere to watch the games without using the Internet. Instead of blocking streamed March Madness content, slow it down. This will give employees, who are working, higher priority in Internet speed and may even cause viewers to check scores instead of streaming.

However, if an employee fails to meet a deadline or if customer service suffers as a result of March Madness distractions, then there should be consequences.

Whether it’s controlling Internet usage or blocking it completely, CurrentWare provides the solution for it. A recommended solution is BrowseControl, software which allows you to control Internet access and lets you decide specifically which sites are permitted at the office. To anonymously track all employee’s Internet and bandwidth usage, BrowseReporter is the solution for you.

Who are you betting on? Will the Louisville Cardinals do it again? Or will the favorites and top No. 1 seed, Florida Gators take it all this year? My bet for this year’s March Madness: Basketball viewing will ‘foul’ employee productivity.

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.