Distractions create perfect storm of lost productivity

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's a perfect storm when it comes to lost productivity.

This might not be the most engaging space in the newspaper, but if you find your mind drifting today, you can probably blame it on the sleep you lost over the weekend.

The time change has more serious consequences; a study of mining injuries across the U.S. showed a spike in workplace injuries of nearly 6 percent on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time.

The same study showed days of work lost because of the injuries increased by 67 percent, resulting in 2,600 more workdays lost because of injuries experienced on days like today, the Monday after daylight saving time went into effect.

Another study found that office workers tend to "cyberloaf" by using their computers and Internet access to engage in non-work-related activities 20 percent of the time on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time, substantially higher than normal days.

A recent estimate put the cost to the American economy at more than $434 million.

If that weren't bad enough, there's a big extra dose of distraction this week, the opening of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

More than 60 million Americans, including President Barack Obama, will fill out brackets this week, often using their office computers and Internet access to do the research and make their picks.

More than 70 million of us will fill out brackets, costing companies about $2 billion in productivity, not to mention risking $9.2 billion in personal wealth on legal and illegal betting on the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Employers can attempt to crack down on use of computers and bandwidth to watch basketball games, but ingenious slakers don't have to depend on office Internet any more.

NCAA March Madness Live allows fans to watch live streams of the games across 12 platforms, include Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku players and Roku TVs, Amazon Fire tablets, iOS and Android mobile devices, Windows handsets, Web browers and the Apple Watch.

The service is on track to break last year's live-streaming record, 80.7 million live video streams and 17.8 million hours of live video consumption.

Employment consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. advises employers not to try to ban basketball, but use the shared experience to build morale. They suggest a free company-wide office pool that offers a free lunch or gift card for the winner, allowing employees to wear their team's colors or setting up a television in a break room so employees can check scores free of guilt.

That addresses March Madness, but how about that daylight saving time jet lag? Maybe a cot next to that TV in the break room ...

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