March Madness may cost you a few bucks for the office pool, but it can cost the office a lot more.

The basketball tournament has a tendency to lead to a drop in productivity, with workers at their desks -- and on their cell phones -- watching it.

Take 50 million Americans participating, making median wages.

"If they each spent an average of an hour wasting time, it comes out to about $1.2 billion," said Jim Patterson with outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

That being said, managers may notice, maybe the IT department when it comes to WiFi speeds, but in a multi-trillion dollar economy "it's a blip," he said. 

In fact, the games may actually be a morale booster.

"You might even want to have a lunch -- get people to come in versus calling in sick," he said. 

Or heading out to the bars at lunch.