Is March Madness Good or Bad for Productivity?

employee screening, employee background checkNow that March Madness is over, some business owners are reconsidering their policies on the activity surrounding the tournament in the workplace. The innocent office basketball pool can become a dangerous game. And if money is changing hands, it could be even more so–because gambling is not legal everywhere!

A recent survey by CareerBuider indicated that 20 percent of workers have participated in March Madness pools at work. Other reports mention the billions of dollars in lost productivity to business that the March Madness Tournament “inspires.” Maybe your employees are included in those 20 percent and you see a loss in productivity. And maybe you’re fine with that. On the other hand, maybe your office has a more formal atmosphere and you prefer to keep it that way.

So what should your answer be when your employees come to you and ask for permission to start a March Madness office pool next year? Here are some points to consider:

  • Will it harm your company to have a once-a-year office pool? If the only thing in the way is you, maybe it’s time to rethink your reasons for saying, “no.”
  • Can trust your staff to keep the party to a minimum and still get the job done?
  • Avoid online activity, as online betting laws can easily be broken.
  • As the business owner, it might be a good idea for you to avoid any involvement in the pool.
  • Think about the boost in morale that a March Madness pool could create. Sometimes, hard-working teams need a way to blow off steam and just enjoy their co-workers and the time they spend at work.
  • Focus on the amount of work your staff is producing—not necessarily the amount of time they’re spending on their tasks.
  • Remember, it’s been a tough couple of years, and your employees might just need a fun break.

Your employees are your most important resource. Think carefully before you take away their March Madness pool!

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