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The website Wallethub estimates businesses in the U.S. could waste as much as $4 billion because of productivity loss during March Madness.

The website Wallethub estimates businesses in the U.S. could waste as much as $4 billion because of productivity loss during March Madness.

But it there a good way for offices to adapt?

Cindy Mixon, Vice President of Human Resources for MRA The Management Association in Waukesha, says there are positive ways to integrate the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament into work environment.

"You have to have respect and trust in your co-workers. And you have to have common interests. And so, sports or cultural events in general, tend to build a lot of excitement around the office," Mixon said.

MRA - which calls itself the largest employer organization in the U.S. - runs a human resources hotline for its members. Around this time of year they get a lot of calls about March Madness, Mixon said.

"Can we have a tv on? Will employees get paid if they're going to watch the game? Or if they're away from their work station can we write them up and give a discipline warning? Or what if they don't show up after the game? Or what if we suspect they've been drinking on the job?" Mixon said, giving examples of questions.

The simple answer is that individual issues should be handled case-by-case. In addition, clear guidelines about watching sports should be set.

One hard rule she recommends: workplaces should not do bracket pools for money. And that's not just because the gambling is illegal.

"But there are some serious issues with it. So sometimes there are employees who may have actually had gambling issues. Gambling isn't covered under the [Americans with Disabilities Act] but I think employers need to be careful to the fact that there should be sensitivity," Mixon said.

She suggests that filling out brackets should be done only for 'bragging rights'.

This "distraction attitude" was definitely not the case a more than a decade ago but the internet and smartphones have changed the work environment in that way. The openness to distractions is not only an expectation of young employees - but now, most employees in competitive fields, Mixon said.

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