According to a New York consulting firm, not a whole lot is going to get done around the office the next few weeks. Challenger, Gray and Christmas claim US businesses will lose up to a billion dollars in productivity this month due to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The consultants believe everybody will be wasting time filling in their brackets, checking statistics and injury reports and watching the games on-line.
While that may be true, I don't think this will affect productivity at all--since everyone finds something to waste time with all year 'round. For some people around here, it's the tv show "Lost". Hours are spent the day after the show is on trying to figure out what each background item meant and how the Harlem Globetrotters got onto the island with a bus. (Oops--that was a different show about people on an islan). For others, the day can't begin without a two hour breakdown of who should stay or who should go on "American Idol". Perhaps C,G&C should come to an office or plant in Wisconsin on a Monday morning following a Packers game and see how much stuff is getting done.
Another concern is the office pool. Right now in every office in America there is a guy making 300-copies of the bracket from USA Today (which amazingly fits perfectly onto a sheet of copy paper every year). Is that a waste of company resources? Sure, but more people are going to look at it than the employee handbook that wastes just as many sheets. And heaven forbid if everybody throws in five bucks. I've always run a teaser that promises the last place finisher their money back. You'd be amazed how many people get suckered in by that one.
The greatest concern for bosses this year will be CBS streaming every game on the internet this year. Some companies are thinking about blocking access to such sites. My question is: why are such sites allowed to begin with? My wife enters liquor orders all day, why does she need internet streaming access? We here in the media business are lucky, we've got tv's in every room to "keep track of breaking news and weather". And I need to make sure our station stream is working properly.
Here's the deal I am offering to my bosses. If you let me watch all of the afternoon basketball games, I'll give up wasting hours replying to and forwarding all of the "funniest joke ever" e-mails. That should make us even.