March Madness a march to lower work productivity

A month of lost workplace productivity officially begins Monday with the start of March Madness.

The brackets for the NCAA men's basketball championship tournament will be picked Sunday, and although the games don't begin until Tuesday, the annual march of not doing much work at work begins Monday when workers will return to work with bracket printouts in hand to join office pools to see if they can pick which of 64 teams will win the tournament.

The global outplacement consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that workers distracted by March Madness could cost employers as much as $1.8 billion in unproductive wages during the first week of the tournament, which ends April 5 with the championship game.

And that loss is based on only 20 minutes of wasted time per day. That probably only includes a few peeks at scores throughout the day.