It’s March, which means two things: NCAA basketball is about to own the airwaves
and you’ve probably already received an invitation to your office bracket pool. While some of us look forward to the Madness (s’go Buffs!) and others simply tolerate it, recent studies reveal the quantifiable hit businesses take on when their employees take a time out as opposed to keeping their heads in the game. According to the research, 50 million American workers will participate in an office pool (including the President) and companies stand to lose $1.2 billion as a result of unproductive hours spent researching or watching games. While employees will undoubtedly get caught up in the drama of conference rivalries and underdog upsets, loyalty to one’s alma mater over their company’s bottom line can put businesses in a sticky spot. Avoid a technical foul by adhering to some simple office etiquette in this holy month of March.
Watch the Scoreboard, Not the Action
There’s a big difference between checking the score of a game and watching the whole showdown through a mobile app or, even worse, on your computer. The NCAA tournament is one of the only major sporting events in which games take place during normal business hours. Get the updates you need and get back to work; DVR was invented for a reason!
Respect Pool Rules
Your local office pool manager is doing a noble service. They’re taking on extra work and responsibility without extra pay and, though the pool manager always thinks they’ve concocted the perfect bracket, that honor annually belongs to Cheryl from HR who always picks her winners based on which mascot she likes best. Submit your bracket on time, pay the dues and above all, respect the pool manager’s time.
Don’t Foul Out!
If there’s truly a game that can’t be missed or circumstances are such that plans were made weeks in advance, be honest with your boss about it. Come in early or stay late to make up for lost time. If you decide to not come in at all don’t fake a cough and call in sick, get a personal day approved in advance so as to not burden others with your fanatical fandom.
A word of warning to bosses: banning basketball outright may end up entrenching your employees’ loyalty to the sport. Don’t be surprised if they start to spend 30 minutes in the bathroom with their phones or develop a habit of ‘Alt-Tabbing’ whenever you walk by. Allow pool participation and water cooler conversation for positive morale, but remember – no one will blame you for ensuring the office doesn’t devolve into the Verizon Center student section.