While not all of us follow college basketball, many of you sat down with pen in hand moving teams through the NCAA Men’s Div. I Basketball Tournament last week.

According to Smithsonian.com, over 60 million Americans filled out a bracket for the tournament. It was also mentioned by the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that employees perfectly their brackets or watching games while at work will cost their companies $552.6 million in lost employee productivity. That is a staggering number.

But rather than fear March Madness, employers should embrace “bracketology.” While employers search for ways to build camaraderie throughout the office, filling out a bracket pits employees in friendly competition that builds relationships across departments and locations. For the most part, the decrease in productivity is usually temporary and is offset by having happy employees.

We suggest business owners let their employees enjoy March Madness, and even get in on the game with them. With so much money spent on team building exercises, why not do something that just requires a bracket, a pen and some sports fun.

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