By Chuck Taylor

The annual college basketball tournament that takes place every March, gets underway today. And a lot of people will be watching instead of working. That, in turn, costs U.S. companies lots of money in lost production.

A study released earlier this month indicates that 23.7 million employees will use company time to research, construct and check their NCAA basketball tournament brackets this year.

U.S. employers stand to lose $615 million per hour in wages to distracted workers, according to calculations by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm.

Last year’s study estimated that the average worker would spend one hour filling out their bracket and an additional two hours streaming tournament games during work hours, generating a total loss in productivity of nearly $4 billion. For this year’s tournament, that figure rises to $6.3 billion in lost productivity.


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