March 27, 2014

Why Allowing March Madness in the Office isn’t Madness

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Tags: Culture

Stop the madness! That’s the mentality of many employers. Any other time of the year I would agree, but not when it’s March. Instead of worrying about the potential for lost productivity, employers should embrace the unrivaled relationship-building experience of office pools.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an estimated 50 million Americans are participating in office pools, and 1.5 million of them stream their favorite games at their workstations. Their report concludes that companies could lose up to a maddening $1.2 billion to lost productivity during March Madness.

“There are distractions every day at the office, but the first week of the annual men’s college basketball tournament is particularly hazardous to workplace productivity,” claims John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Challenger also adds that “increased internet traffic resulting from just a handful of employees streaming games will dramatically slow internet speeds for the entire office … this means that productivity could be hindered even for those workers not caught up in March Madness.”

Those are scary claims, but other experts view them as exaggerated, while some dismiss them as irrelevant. The Society for Human Resource Management notes that many organizations actually like March Madness office pools. In fact, 81 percent of organizations don’t have any policy against office pools.

Even better, 70 percent of employers say that March Madness has a positive impact on relationship-building.

Why pay for those outrageous team-building programs that usually don’t work when March Madness can unite the workplace for free? Even the Challenger report admits that March Madness is a relationship-builder. “Promoting a company-wide office pool that is free to enter, for example, could help boost camaraderie and encourage interaction among co-workers who may not typically cross paths,” says Challenger.

I am fortunate enough to work for an employer who understands that relationship-building leads to a better workplace, which leads to higher productivity.

Most importantly, higher productivity yields higher returns.

At TechnologyAdvice, we don’t believe that work and fun are mutually exclusive. And even though we have an office-wide March Madness pool, we’ve never been called unproductive. In fact, we’re on track to double our staff by the end of the year.

So why work for an employer who doesn’t understand?  Check out our open positions and become a productive member of the TechnologyAdvice team.

photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via photopin cc