This weekend's NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship games resulted in improbable upsets and jaw-dropping plays. Whether it's Gonzaga's win or Michigan State's loss, March Madness ended with a lot of surprises. Many of your employees are checking their brackets this morning and either celebrating their wins or licking their wounds.
Don't worry, you're not alone. A new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimates that more than 50.5 million American workers, or 20 percent, could participate in March Madness office pools this year. Even President Obama has been known to take time out of his day to complete a bracket. All this distraction could result in an estimated $4 billion in productivity losses.
In fact the firm says that time wasted on building brackets and watching games will add up to $1.3 billion. However, experts caution employers to avoid cracking down on March Madness participation, for quashing bracket activities would most likely result in negative consequences for employee morale, loyalty, and engagement.
Employers, rather, should embrace tournament office pools as a way to foster communication among employees and incorporate some fun activities in the office during the tournament's three-week duration.
Research by OfficeTeam shows nearly one-third of senior managers agree that activities tied to March Madness boost employee morale, and more than one-quarter felt March Madness has an overall positive impact on worker productivity.
To turn March Madness into a tool to boost employee engagement, OfficeTeam suggests running a company wide pool that's free for employees to enter, relaxing the dress code to allow employees to wear their favorite team jerseys, or setting specific times throughout the day to allow employees to check their brackets and discuss the tournament.
Rather than take an uncompromising approach to March Madness activities in the office, which could lead to disengaged employees, embrace the office pool as a way to boost morale and employee engagement.