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The week begins with March Madness.

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The week begins with March Madness.
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The week begins with March Madness.

The week begins with March Madness.

 

It’s not like everyone is going to the office in the first place.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a shift in the March Madness schedule, giving basketball fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch eight games on a Monday.

The second-round games begin with a lunchtime (or coffee break) matchup between Oregon and Iowa and end with a game between USC and Kansas that should be completed after midnight in the eastern time zone.

This year, the NCAA compressed the tournament schedule significantly, fitting 67 games into 19 days instead of the regular 21, as it took all 68 teams to Indiana in an effort to create a secure atmosphere in which to play all of the games.

Coaches and players have become immune to the start and stops and games at odd times that have marked this pandemic-tinged season.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said, “It makes no difference.” “We have a game against Oregon on Monday.”

The new schedule does not include any afternoon games on Thursday, when the chaos usually ramps up.

The Thursday-Friday extravaganza — 32 games spread through four networks in about 36 hours — prompted some serious thought in the IT world, leading to the invention of the now-famous “Boss button,” among other things. While watching the game online, you clicked on the button.

Worker A, for example, is engrossed in a potential upset between Lehigh and Duke. From around the corner, he or she hears the boss. Simple solution: Click the mouse to display a fictitious spreadsheet on the screen.

There’s nothing to see.

However, as we all know, so many meetings around the water cooler — or, in this case, the computer display — have come at a cost over time.

As soon as the brackets are released in March, a slew of studies detailing the missed productivity at work as a result of all those workers watching all those games are released.

According to one survey published in 2019, up to 1.5 million people watched games online from their desks, while others called in sick or took a long lunch. According to the report, employees could lose up to $1.7 billion in missed work time over the tournament’s 16 business days.

Another research, this time from (third-seeded) Kansas, found that fewer and fewer people were attempting to conceal it.

Jordan Bass, one of the study’s contributors, said, “They freely acknowledged they work less during the tournament.” ”It isn’t surprising, but we thought it was awesome that they came out and said they were less productive and scheduled their days accordingly.”

When the ball is tipped Monday, far less people will have to go through the motions of pretending to be busy for all the wrong reasons.

According to a Pew survey conducted last year, only one out of every five employees who could work from home did so prior to the pandemic. That number has risen to 71 percent since the pandemic.

On Monday, there will be an opportunity to make the best of a poor situation. Anyone here use Venmo for all those office pools?

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