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Forget Lost Productivity, March Madness Provides Huge Benefits To Office Morale And Motivation, Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Let the madness begin. March Madness kicks off into high gear Thursday and millions of people are distracted as they fill out their brackets for office pools.

But all of that time spent on the fun and games may not necessarily be bad for a company's bottom line.

It's front and center during water cooler breaks, and sparks new meaning to research reports and data entry: It's March Madness in the office.

"We've done brackets in our office and I feel like it gets competitive among like workers," one woman said.

"It takes about five seconds to fill my little sheet out, then I'm done. I just watch the brackets," one man said.

>>MORE: Latest on NCAA Tournament

Each year, we hear about decreased productivity among employees during the NCAA Tournament, due to workers sorting through their brackets and monitoring scores.

At least here at CBS3, we're honest about it. Check out Jim Donovan explaining his method to the madness on our CBS3 Morning Show.

Research out of the University of Kansas confirms the lost productivity, but also found benefits when employees were open about it, and bosses were understanding.

"I think it's really well understood that, 'Hey, go ahead and watch the games on the monitor for all we care and talk about it if you want. Just get your work done and no one will have a problem,'" one man said.

>>MORE: NCAA Tournament Picks: What Teams Will Advance To The Sweet 16?

The study found that as long as employees still finished their required tasks, supervisors were supportive, and when supervisors got in on the fun, too, camaraderie and feelings of motivation were increased company-wide.

If you're not into college hoops, no worries. According to the study, even non-sports fans felt like March Madness provided more company outings and chances to socialize with coworkers.

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