AirTalk for March 20, 2013

Beware the Ides of March! Madness invades the workplace

Saint Mary's v Middle Tennessee

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Brad Waldow #00 of the St. Mary's Gaels attempts to control a loose ball in the second half against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 19, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.

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

blog comments powered by Disqus