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March Madness is here, which means there are billions to be won and lost at the office.
College basketball fans or not, many get in on the NCAA tournament known as March Madness — or at least try their hand at filling out a bracket.
A whopping 70 million tournament brackets were completed last year, amounting to about $10.4 billion wagered in total, according to a report by WalletHub. That's about twice as much as during the Super Bowl.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a long-time basketball fan, singlehandedly offered Berkshire Hathaway employees $1 million a year for life to anyone who guessed which teams make it to the NCAA men's basketball tournament's "Sweet 16."
But across the U.S., all that time spent on sports brackets instead of actual work has a serious impact on the bottom line. In fact, unproductive workers during March Madness amounted to an estimated $6.3 billion in corporate losses last year, WalletHub said.
A separate survey by Seyfarth Shaw at Work, a subsidiary of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, found that March Madness ranked third among tech-related office distractions, directly behind texting and Facebook. The findings are from a poll of more than 400 managers and human resources specialists.
Although 81 percent of human resource professionals said their organizations don't have policies to police office pools, employees are happy to leave well enough alone. Ninety percent of workers agreed March Madness was good for employee morale, WalletHub found.
The NCAA will reveal on Sunday which 68 teams have made the cut for this year's basketball championships. The tournament starts two days later and concludes April 2.