NCAA Tournament distractions cause drop in productivity

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 3/22/2013 8:53 am Published: 3/21/2013 7:21 pm

Thousands of Oklahoma State fans across Green Country skipped out on work Thursday or cut out early to watch the Cowboys take on the Oregon Ducks in the NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately, the Pokes lost.

But according to a recent study, the average American worker will spend one to three hours each day following March Madness games instead of working. That costs our economy an estimated $1.8 billion each year in lost productivity.

The halls at Regus, an office provider, in south Tulsa were empty Thursday afternoon. Sixty-five businesses office there, and normally there are between 65 and 150 people in the building.

On Thursday, there were 14.

And that's how it is most years on the first few days of the Big Dance.

Charles Mather, a product developer for Broadsoft, considers himself a huge college basketball fan. But Thursday he was moving into his new office at Regus instead of watching games. Wearing a Kentucky Wildcats shirt, he told FOX23 News that it was disappointing.

"A little bit," he said. "But since Kentucky's not playing it's ok. I'll watch some games tonight."

But he still planned to keep up with the tournament action to see how he was doing on his bracket.

"I might sneak a peek every once in a while," he said with a smile.

With it being spring break on top of March Madness, many at Regus were sneaking more than a peek.

"A lot of excuses to not be at work today," Kimber Oppelt said.

Oppelt works for Verizon Roofing and Construction, which also offices out of Regus. She's not a sports fan, but she was still disappointed she had to work when so few others were.

"Um, my boss made me," she said.

Two of her co-workers took Thursday off, though.

Even though she was at work, she said she still was not as productive as she normally would be.

"We have a tv, actually, in our office, so sometimes there's a little bit of basketball, a little bit of sports talk in the background," she said. "It's a little distracting this time of year."

Even though Mather and most of his co-workers were in the office Thursday, he still wasn't sure his boss was going to get as much out of his employees as he hoped.

"We're pretty busy, and we have a lot of people who will be watching online," Mather said.

According to the same study, the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament is usually the least productive day in offices across the country, and is also the day people are most likely to call out.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

BrideyMurphy - 3/22/2013 12:12 AM
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If I was a business owner anyone who wanted to take off to watch March Madness could do so, but they wouldn't have a job, would go for protests too,anyone watching it on computer or spending time in the breakroom when they were supposed to be working....same thing. Guess it is a good thing I am not running any business....there is a time for entertainment and it isn't when you are working for me, do that on your off time, weekends, after or before work, but not during. That might be one reason I have been put on hold every time I have tried to speak to someone on the phone for a couple of days.
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