Source: United Benefit Advisors (UBA)
Now that everyone is focused on basketball, specifically the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, how does March madness translate into workplace madness? In an article in Employee Benefit News, they estimate that approximately 50 to 60 million Americans participate in brackets and pools. This is not surprising considering that President Barack Obama has a bracket and Quicken Loans is offering a $1 billion — yes, with a capital B — prize to anyone who completes the perfect bracket. In case you were wondering, the chances of doing that are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. As an employer, the questions are whether brackets and pools are legal, the loss of productivity with employees watching games, calling in sick, etc., and even the use of office supplies to create and print the brackets. If the company’s bottom line is more important, then consider blocking access to streaming websites, reminding employees of acceptable computer use while at work, and threatening disciplinary action if necessary. If employee morale and motivation is paramount, then think about allowing employees to wear or display items related to their favorite team, designate certain times when employees can check scores, or go all out and set up a TV in the break room tuned to the NCAA tournament while providing free pizza and popcorn and allowing a short amount of time for employees to watch. This relatively inexpensive investment will possibly reduce the loss of short-term productivity while most likely increasing long-term gains in employee morale and company approval.