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Arizona guard Rawle Alkins shouts after his dunk during the first half against North Dakota in an NCAA men's college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/George Frey)
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It’s far past time for employers to embrace the fun surrounding March Madness

Arizona guard Rawle Alkins shouts after his dunk during the first half against North Dakota in an NCAA men's college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/George Frey)

March Madness is finally here and, with the Final Four, being played right here in the Valley, a lot of us could not be more excited.

Excited to the tune of $4 billion in lost productivity. What?

That’s right: All those times where you take a quick break to check your bracket, do some math see if it’s completely busted or maybe catch a few plays of the game, all of that equates to lost productivity at work.

And the nationwide total for that lost productivity equates to about $4 billion.

I have a solution: Employers need to embrace March Madness. They need to embrace what their employees are going to be focusing on for the next two weeks.

How about this? For each day of March Madness, employers should bring TVs into the office to show almost every game that is on. On those days, each division or each employee has goals they need to accomplish by the end of the day.

As long as everyone is working on those tasks, the TVs stay and everybody gets to watch March Madness. Bosses will see only a very small hit to productivity.

Or the employers can go the more standard route, which is ignore March Madness and discover their employees are taking two- and three-hour lunches or maybe not coming back from lunch at all. It’s kind of awkward to have the Uber driver take you back to work.

Another reason March Madness should be embraced by employers is that encourages team building. There are people in our building that I don’t talk to — save for these two weeks each year. It’s not because I don’t want to talk to them, it’s just that they most likely work in another department or another part of building. You know what I mean.

Think about it: After every round — maybe after every game — employees are talking, laughing and making jokes. That bonding equates to higher productivity, more unity in the workplace, a more comfortable working environment, a more enjoyable workplace and, most likely, dollars to the bottom line.

Let’s face it: With sponsors paying billions of dollars to be a part of the NCAA tournament, March Madness is not going away any time soon.

Businesses need to come around to this realization, get on board and embrace March Madness.

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