Hand tossing a basketball up in the air

Morale may get a boost during March brackets, but try to minimize distractions

It’s here! March Madness is upon us and the bustle around your office involves which teams made the tournament, selecting brackets and game start times. While you may dread this time of year as a manager, this annual sporting event may not be as detrimental to office productivity as was once thought.

An OfficeTeam survey of 1,000 managers and 400 workers in office environments found that 11 percent of managers find March Madness activities to be a welcome diversion. Those managers believe the activity can increase teamwork and boost morale.

And while 57 percent of managers do not encourage March Madness activities in the workplace, they find them to be okay in moderation. The survey also found that only 1-in-5 employees are distracted by the excitement.

How much money do companies lose during March Madness?

Despite the enhanced camaraderie that can occur, business owners must still pay attention to the bottom line. It is estimated that, collectively, employers could lose $13.3 billion in revenue during the March Madness opening week, according to a report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Each hour spent on building brackets or watching games will cost employers $2.1 billion overall, the report adds.

And there can be legal and human resources related issues. Consider the following tips to help you capitalize on team-building and minimize distractions:

  • Establish an office pool with no entry fee; this sends a clear message that the company does not encourage employee gambling but still allows them to participate in the fun.
  • Place a television or computer with Internet access in the lunch room to allow workers to catch up on scores during break times rather than at their desks.
  • Make sure your Internet-use policy is up-to-date; if your policy states that Internet access is for work-related purposes only, it may not hurt to remind employees of the policy before the tournament begins.
  • Offer a casual dress day in the office where employees are encouraged to wear T-shirts and sweatshirts to show the support of their favorite team.

Who coined the phrase March Madness?

Fun fact: The “March Madness” name is attributed to former high school coach and athletic administrator Henry V. Porter, who first used the term in a 1939 essay titled “March Madness” and then through a poem distributed to high school athletic associations and widely republished in 1960.

So, allow your employees some time during the March Madness tournament but keep an eye on your bottom line. It can be a win-win for everyone.

Do you need help developing a policy? Are you looking for someone to handle your Human Resources questions and needs? We can help with everything from developing policies and handbooks, to handling safety training, payroll and HR reporting. Contact BCN Services at 1-800-891-9911 or contact us electronically.

Photo credit: Photo by Dan Carlson on Unsplash

Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager