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Old March 24th, 2006 #1
Sean Martin
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,397
Sean Martin
Default 'No work please,' it's basketball time

'No work please,' it's basketball time

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Relax, don't work so hard. These days no one else in America does, and that might not be such a bad thing for an employer's bottom line.

It's "March Madness," when millions of U.S. workers spend so much time following the men's college basketball games of the NCAA Tournament that by one estimate they're costing companies $3.8 billion in lost productivity.

That price comes as no surprise, said one Boston-area salesman who says his clients have been preoccupied with the three-week, 65-team event that ends with the final game on April 3.

"I'd call customers who would say, 'Call me back later on. I'm watching a game on my computer and don't want to be bothered,'" he said, not wanting his name used. "And every office I go to, it's all they're talking about."

To arrive at that lost $3.8 billion, consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. used data showing that some 41 percent of U.S. workers, or about 58 million people, consider themselves college basketball fans.

Millions of fans, and some who normally pay little attention to college basketball, take part in ubiquitous "March Madness" office pools.

Using online tracking data, Challenger estimated working fans average 13.5 minutes a day following tournament action on the Internet, said John Challenger, chief executive of the Chicago-based firm that studies workplace and business trends.

That activity costs companies $237 million a day, he said, but it may be worth it.


"We think it's a good buy. It's probably good for morale," he said. "When you can find ways to bring people together, take advantage of it. It's worth the price tag."

This year's impact may have been particularly acute, with CBS showing games online for free. Helpfully, the Web site included a "Boss Button" which, when hit, instantly mutes the game and replaces the on-screen action with a spread sheet.

But even a "Boss Button" won't help in some workplaces, like one huge Wall Street investment firm where a sternly worded memo was sent to employees banning any on-the-job tournament pools or e-mail traffic.

"Nobody is saying a word about 'March Madness,'" said one of the firm's executives.

Omni Duct Systems in Anaheim, California, installed a filtering program so none of its employees can get access to online sports information, said Mike Delawder, its information technology manager.

"Basically, if it's got the word 'sports' in it, it just blocks it out," he said.

Delawder said he's heard no complaints about the filter, which he said is intended to prevent an overload on the company's computer server. But he concedes complaints would be unlikely.

"If they come to me complaining that they can't get to the sports site, it's pretty much saying, 'Hey, look, I'm goofing around at work,'" he said.

Companies don't necessarily have to go that far, said Jim Holland, a Kansas City-based attorney whose firm specializes in representing management in labor and employment issues.

They can take steps to make sure employees can follow the games and set up office pools with moderation, he said.

"I've had some employers say, 'Hey, we end up wasting more time doing birthday cakes every month than we do doing the NCAA pool,'" he said. "It's lost productivity, but at the same time, I think employers are gaining something from it from the standpoint of morale in the office."
Doppelhaken, Draco, Richard H, ToddinFl, Augustus Sutter, Chain, Subrosa, Jarl, White Will, whose next?
Old March 25th, 2006 #2
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: in a gene near you
Posts: 4,982

Originally Posted by sean(doc)martin
'No work please,' it's basketball time

It's unbelievable , that white people fall for garbage like this , beyond my understanding .


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