As many as 37 million people are expected to participate in the wagering, according to an estimate by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a job counseling firm in Chicago.
The FBI has estimated about $2.5 billion will be bet on the tournament.
With this popularity comes major issues for the workplace.
First of all, betting is illegal everywhere in the United States except Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Next, the basketball ‘pool’ that’s prevalent in many businesses likely violates a handbook policy that prohibits solicitation and distribution.
CBS and the NCAA have also announced that all games this year will be available live on-line, so the possibility of workers spending their hours watching basketball and not being productive is also likely. In fact, economic experts are predicting all the office time spent following the games over the next several weeks could add up to more than $1.2 billion in lost productivity. The estimate is nearly 20 percent of the work force, will spend an average of 13.5 minutes a day following the games and updating their brackets.
Do not wait to solve problems before they happen. Although there’s interest and fun involved, your business should prohibit office pools. In addition, you should have a written policy should state that internet and e-mail use is for business purposes only. (If not just to reduce lack of productivity, it should also reduce the potential for harassment and discrimination).