Should Employers Embrace March Madness?

It happens every year. For some employees it's like Christmas. For some employers, it's a headache in potential lost productivity. It's an inevitable dilemma. As long as there is basketball to be watched, upsets to occur and the occasional "one shining moment," workers are going to find ways to catch a glimpse of the madness one way or another. Even if employers try to block access in the name of productivity (in the same way many do with social media) employees are just going to become more creative and ingenious on accessing information on scores and how their brackets are doing. CBS even knows it, incorporating a "Boss Button" function for their online telecasts of games.

Should employers just throw in the towel on blocking out March Madness access and embrace it?

Many columnists and "experts" gauge that there will be up to $4 billion in lost productivity during the weeks the 65-team-throwdown goes on. This projection alone is enough to scare employers into boycotting March Madness from workstations. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, one Atlanta firm is using special software to boycott video streams from workers' computers.

Employee solution: live streams to mobile devices. Next?

Some employers are taking a glass half full approach to tourney time. With a lot of people coming off hard times due to the economy, many offices are looking at this as another opportunity to enage employees. In the same AJC article, CEO John Challenger states:

" ...with worker stress and anxiety heightened, a little distraction could be just what the doctor ordered...Companies can use this event as a way to build morale and camaraderie. This could mean putting televisions in the break room, so employees have somewhere to watch the games other than the Internet. Employers might consider organizing a company-wide pool, which should have no entry fee in order to avoid ethical and/or legal questions."

The Madness is here. Many will spend extra time checking scores and checking how their brackets are doing. However, these same employees spend extra time the other days doing online shopping or browsing online doing other things. If they replace this time investigating game scores, how does this cut into productivity that much more?

The choice is yours...embrace the madness or block it out. What do you all think is the best solution?