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With March Madness 2017 on the minds of many employees these days, how should employers handle the lure of NCAA college hoops versus sacrificing office productivity?

A recent survey by OfficeTeam reported that half of senior managers said activities tied to the tournament – such as office pools focused on the 68-team brackets — boost employee morale, while 36 percent believe March Madness has a positive impact on workplace productivity.

With that in mind, here are several options for offices to consider that can keep employees focused on work combined with a good dose NCAA March Madness Tournament camaraderie  as well:

  • Address it with your team. Be up front and acknowledge that March Madness is happening. Let them know it’s not a major breach of office etiquette to take occasional peeks at their personal devices for tournament updates as long as work and work deadlines are maintained.
  • Allow for some fun. Let anyone interested fill out brackets and compete for prizes. Post a large bracket chart on the break room wall. Sports can bring a variety of people together from different offices who may not normally interact or engage in conversation. This bonding can be a plus for creating and strengthening workplace relationships.
  • Tune  break room TVs to network coverage of the tournament. This allows for short glimpses of March Madness while on break or having lunch.
  • Tune reception area TVs to network coverage. This can enhance client and customer relationships as they wait for their appointment and shows that your company is encouraging fun and camaraderie even with visitors, customers and clients.
  • The fun really begins when you can watch a game or portion of a game. Consider being a bit more lax and provide an opportunity for watching a game in the conference room,  or have an extended lunch period, especially if state teams are involved in the tournament.

March Madness doesn’t have to mean workplace madness. Perhaps there’s a wee bit of lost productivity, but the long-term payoff can be greater. Allowing for some tournament fun adds enjoyment to the workplace culture, enhances office morale and builds teamwork and camaraderie.