Only Your Boss Hates March Madness

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-02-28

Can hardly wait the two weeks until March Madness kicks off? Your boss can.

According to Websense, a San Diego based computer security company, the number of sports-related Web sites has grown 31 percent since March of last year, and the number of gambling Web sites has grown 56 percent, all of which leads to a decrease in network bandwidth and compromises to computer security.

"March Madness is the highlight of the year for college hoops fans," said Steve Kelley, director of core products, Websense. "Especially for midsize companies--with limited IT resources and bandwidth, proper Internet use policies combined with automated Web and security filtering tools are essential to providing a work-life balance for employees that allows them to still enjoy the tournament but remain productive and secure during work hours."

Security isn't all that's at risk--employee productivity is supposed to take a huge hit in March, not helped at all by the fact that CBS Sports just announced that it'll offer free online viewing of men's college basketball games during the NCAA championship.

The firm estimates that the average time spent by the American worker on college hoops sites during the workday is 13.5 minutes--and notes that every 13.5 minutes, the average American worker earns $4.05. Considering that there are 58.5 million workers who are college basketball fans, the cost to employers nationwide over the 16 tournament days could top $3.7 billion.

Yet, it stops short of suggesting that employers clamp down on basketball-related activities and websites.

"In fact, companies should try to find a way to take advantage of employees' excitement over the tournament. This may not only help build morale, but it may also help the company control the amount of productivity lost."

"Additionally, office pools may have other benefits, such as bringing together workers who might not have interacted otherwise. This helps with team building, which leads to greater performance in many areas of business," said Challenger.

So next time your bosses grumble that nobody gets any work done in March, just show them that.

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