By KYW tech editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NCAA is streaming March Madness online again this year. Many of us will take time out of our work days to watch on the web — especially with Temple’s first game tipping off early Friday afternoon. Your boss might not mind, but the IT people could be a different story.

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The most quoted estimate about the $134-million loss of productivity at tournament time comes from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which goes on to debunk its own claim by saying we’ll get our work done before or after the game.

But it can be a whole other matchup for your company’s computer network.

“Most IT departments just want to make sure that for those who want to get work done, they can work at the same pace and efficiency as they would on a normal day.” says Jack Cullen, president of the national IT staffing firm Modis, which has offices in Media and Plymouth Meeting.

Cullen says streaming high-quality video across a slew of cubicles sucks a lot of the speed from an Internet pipeline.  Tournament time, he forecasts, may be bigger than Cyber Monday when it comes to workplace web use.

“We do tell people to be cognizant of time they spend,” Cullen says.  “We are going to let people know that productivity is expected.”

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At his company, they put TVs in the breakroom to reduce the strain on the network.

“They can check in, watch some of the games, check the scores, and get back to work,” Cullen says.

Better for morale, he says, than banning streaming video entirely.

If your business bans streaming outright, use a mobile device, or cozy up to the corner office.

“The bosses in most companies do have separate policies for themselves,” Cullen explains.

If you’re watching from your desk, don’t forget the “boss button,” which bumps you to a legit-looking email portal if there’s a supervisor over shoulder.

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