Toward lamenting the lost productivity
When Americans cling,
From the first day of Spring,
To basketball bracket activity.
At work we may go to extremes
Of collegiate basketball dreams,
And glance in our laps
At websites and apps
With brackets and video streams.
Consultants engaged by the boss
To reckon the March Madness cost
Deduce from the gauges
Of hours and wages
That 1.2 billion are lost.
But a national payroll statistic
As a measure is much too simplistic,
As workers are apt
In March to adapt
In a manner that's deft and holistic.
Despite how the experts may warn
That brackets are worthy of scorn,
It's easy to see
For office esprit,
They're better than downloading porn.
Naturally, the productivity scolds over at Challenger, Gray & Christmas want to throw a wet blanket over all the bracketology banter. They calculate that March Madness could cost employers $1.2 billion in lost production, as workers weigh the merits of Duke vs. Michigan and organize office pools. This is based on 50 million Americans each wasting an hour on bracket-building, betting and boasting, at an average hourly wage of $24.31.
Not to worry, counters Jena McGregor in the Washington Post; the estimated productivity effects are overblown. She quotes Duke's Prof. Charles Clotfelter, who studied the March Madness phenomenon and concluded:
"Besides the possible boost in morale associated with this annual ritual, common sense suggests that those who follow successful teams will come to anticipate success and simply learn to budget their time, making sure to leave enough time to watch their team play. For those who expect their team to lose, the opposite occurs: They can plan to work after their cherished team goes down in defeat."So, how's your bracket doing?