Depending on who you talk to, March Madness can be a boon or a bust for employers. A recent survey by the job outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says that nearly a third of employees spend an average of 3 hours per work day watching games – an addiction further enabled by access to streamed online coverage of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That plus the time spent by hoop-hoppers speculating, rehashing and organizing office pools costs businesses $134 million in lost productivity, according to the company.
But other reports cite a boost in employee morale that more than makes up for the loss. In fact, some employers find there’s a method to March Madness – making it an office-wide event can benefit the whole team. Granting time-outs to check scores, fostering friendly competition, allowing workers to wear team colors and being flexible with off-court time are just some of the ways to make keep their team engaged throughout the season.
Are you an employer who dreads college basketball season? If you’re a fan, have you found ways to get your hoop fix at work, or do you use up your sick days every March? Does your employer give you a pass on productivity, or do you get the penalty box?
Kris Dunn, partner and chief human resources officer, Kinetix, a recruitment process outsourcing firm; founder of the HR Capitalist blog and former assistant basketball coach for University of Alabama at Birmingham