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Your IT department is ruining your March Madness fun

It happens in offices around the country, around this time of year.There you are, squinting at your computer, pretending to be oh-so-immersed in that spreadsheet, but what you’re really doing is waiting for the boss to leave so you can get back to watching March Madness on the other screen.But why won’t the game load?Blame the IT department.A new survey finds that about two-thirds of IT depart
North Carolina's John Henson jumps over Duke's Miles Plumlee (21) for a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 3, 2012. At rear, Duke's Seth Curry and Austin Rivers (0) watch with North Carolina's Tyler Zeller (44). (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
North Carolina's John Henson jumps over Duke's Miles Plumlee (21) for a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 3, 2012. At rear, Duke's Seth Curry and Austin Rivers (0) watch with North Carolina's Tyler Zeller (44). (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Gerry Broome / Today

It happens in offices around the country, around this time of year.

There you are, squinting at your computer, pretending to be oh-so-immersed in that spreadsheet, but what you’re really doing is waiting for the boss to leave so you can get back to watching March Madness on the other screen.

But why won’t the game load?

Blame the IT department.

A new survey finds that about two-thirds of IT departments take some sort of action to block, ban or throttle non-work streaming content, including the March Madness college basketball tournament.

When it comes to March Madness specifically, four in 10 admit they monitor employees who try to access March Madness on their computers, in order to protect the company’s network.

That’s according to a survey of about 500 IT professionals conducted this February on behalf of Modis, an IT staffing firm that is part of Adecco.

Let’s be fair to the IT folks. They aren’t necessarily trying to keep you from keeping tabs on your bracket during the work day, but they are trying to keep your network running.

According to the Modis survey, four in 10 respondents said streaming content from the annual basketball tournament has had some impact on the company’s network, such as slowing or even shutting it down.

Most IT professionals surveyed said they block streaming content to make sure everyone can do their regular work without network disruptions. But the majority also said they do so to keep people from getting too distracted at work.

It’s not clear how much March Madness, which begins March 11, really distracts people from getting their work done.

Challenger, Gray and Christmas this year poked fun at its own assessment of how much game time takes away from company time, and even admitted no one’s likely going out of business because of a basketball tournament.

 The outplacement firm’s advice: As with most things, March Madness should be viewed in moderation. At least while you’re at work.