By Chris Morris
March 1, 2018

Expect productivity across America to decline sharply in a couple weeks.

The March 13 kick off to the NCAA Basketball Tournament—better known as March Madness—is the bane of bosses and HR departments, as workers try to keep up with the latest scores and Cinderella stories. And a new study finds that the average worker will spend up to six paid hours focusing on sports-related activities during the tournament.

That could be anything from an extended lunch when a key game is on to regularly checking a favorite sports website to watching games online, according to staffing firm OfficeTeam.

On average, workers spend 25.5 minutes per day monitoring the games—with checking game scores and team rankings being the most popular distractions. Water cooler chatter about the games is a close second.

While it might not be good for productivity, there are some upsides to this office slacking, particularly with morale building.

“While employers may worry about events like March Madness being a distraction in the office, allowing workers to enjoy sports-related activities for even a few minutes can be time well spent,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Staff will appreciate the opportunity to bond with colleagues and return to their desks rejuvenated.”

March Madness 2018 runs through April 2.

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