With spring (the first day was yesterday), of course, comes spring fever as well as March Madness…the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Many news outlets reported yesterday, including from Newsweek’s Sarah Kliff, that businesses would be sapped by people watching or looking for updates on the NCAA tournament…to the tune of $1.7 Billion. This assumes that every worker who has participated in an NCAA office pool spends 10 minutes during each work day of the tourney checking scores or watching games. (This, of course, is in the U.S.)The report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a consulting firm specializing in workplace issues, admits that the study isn’t exactly scientific. I will further challenge their assumption of lost productivity by asking what price you put on morale. You may lose 10 minutes of productivity here or there from the NCAA tournament, but you have to take the happiness of the employee into consideration. In this day of always-on workers with broadband at home and mobile mail and cellphones, we are always reachable and often have to shift our schedules to work with global colleagues. Many of us in the workforce (especially in technology) are also given the flexibility in our work schedules to attend the parent-teacher conference, the school play or the soccer game. As long as the employee is happy and gets his or her done, then the WHEN of the work becomes much less relevant. In other words, a happy employee is a productive employee.The report may have had more relevance a few years ago, but in this day of always-on, globalized, broadband accessibility, 10 minutes a day checking the scores of a game is irrelevent. With that said, I still think that North Carolina is going to win the tournment.AND!!!, as spring is the signal of new beginnings, I am happy to report that last night, on the first day of spring, my 13-month old son took his first steps. He was very pleased…as was I…as was his mom.