And another thing...

GOAL TENDING. The first two days of March Madness, also known as the NCAA men's basketball tournament, can be something of a distraction for workers in government and other offices. Games start shortly after noon Eastern Time on the first Thursday and Friday of the tourney, as 64 teams begin playing for the title. Employees'their interest piqued by office pools and a tradition of upsets, and their access enabled by high-speed Internet connections'can't help but check in. And this year, free online broadcasts raise the possibility of a severe drop-off in productivity. (One consultant predicted March Madness would cost $3.8 billion in lost productivity nationwide, though others have disputed that estimate.) At least one federal agency decided to keep a lid on things: The Interior Department blocked CBS' streaming video, thus keeping employees from becoming mesmerized by the games. CIO Hord Tipton said the department even kept stats on how many people tried to gain access. About 200 tried the first day, he said, as the second weekend of games got underway, 'but since that time the word spread quickly, and the reduction of games has further reduced attempts to a trickle.' Several other agencies GCN checked with, including EPA, GSA, Labor and Transportation, went with the honor system, not bothering to check on what employees were up to. As did Energy, where a spokeswoman said, 'We didn't even worry about this issue. Our employees are very responsible adults and they understand the mission of our department comes first.' Sure. Must have
had Kansas in the Final Four.

Got a prognostication? Take a shot at [email protected].

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