It all ends today. The NCAA champions of March Madness will be decided during a fierce matchup between Kansas and Kentucky this evening in New Orleans.
While fans will be sad to see it all end, many employers will secretly be rejoicing; not because they are fans of the winning team, but because they are looking forward to restoring productivity in the office.
March Madness may affect the workplace more than you realize. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger, “It is not just a matter of watching the games during the workday that threatens productivity. Starting the Monday before the tournament begins, workers are likely to be distracted by filling in their brackets for the ubiquitous March Madness office pools.”
The impact of March Madness distractions will likely be “at the micro level”—office Internet might be slower due to streaming video, some workers will be slow responding to e-mails, and lunch breaks might extend beyond the usual time limits.
“Ultimately, March Madness will not even register a blip on the nation’s economic radar, and even the smallest company will survive the month without any impact on their bottom line,” he stated.
Activities tied to sports events can actually be good for office morale as long they don’t interfere with work, OfficeTeam Executive Director Robert Hosking said in a news release.
OfficeTeam offered the following tips to employees before tipoff:
- Review company policy before engaging in game-related activities at work, such as checking scores online, to know what is considered acceptable.
- Review company policy about whether decorating your workspace in support of your favorite college is allowed.
- Show sportsmanship, and leave your overly competitive streak at home.
- Don’t let March Madness sideline your work.
- If you want to take a day off to watch the event, ask your supervisor in advance so workloads can be managed.
“Watching a game together or holding a friendly contest provides opportunities for employees to build team spirit,” Hosking said.
Some employers remind workers to practice moderation in their tournament viewing but do not take steps to suppress participation, provided that March Madness does not create “an overt and significant problem,” Challenger stated.
Source: SHRM: http://www.shrm.org/Publications/HRNews/Pages/EmployersCourt.aspx