This week starts one of the biggest losses of productivity in the U.S. workforce – the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, aka March Madness. With the opportunities for viewing games online as well as the inevitable office pool there is a very small chance that your office won’t be affected by the madness. According to a poll by CareerBuilders.com 20% of U.S. workers will take part in a tournament betting pool. So, do you fight the madness or embrace it?
Do you take a dive into the office pool? Yes, it is illegal to bet on sports in most states. Since I happen to know that there is an active pool going on in the police precinct near my house, I doubt that your local law enforcement is going to raid your office. If you want to take the moral high ground on this one, you can have people fill out a bracket and take donations and the winner gets to pick the nonprofit that gets them.
What about viewing games during work hours? Unless you want to confiscate everyone’s smartphone and computer, you will not stop people from watching the games in the office. Why not just embrace it? Many offices have televisions in break areas or customer lobbies, so why not turn on the games? Some offices have planned breaks around game times, and one office I know turns the semifinals into a customer entertainment opportunity. They invite customers to drop in during the games and provide snacks and beverages.
As a manager, you have a choice. Turn a blind eye or take the opportunity to inject some fun into your workplace. We say, embrace the madness!