The silly March Madness workplace study

A recent article appeared on many internet sites suggesting that the office pool madness during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is responsible for companies losing nearly 2 billion dollars due to lack of productivity. It is believed that many employees simply do not have their minds focused on their work, instead, they are more concerned with how their brackets are doing. Doesn’t it seem like there is always some study that comes out during this time of the year warning employers about this so-called annual late winter, early spring disease affecting thousands of companies? If you read enough of the article, you might wonder why office brackets are not banned altogether. Just take every bit of fun from our daily workplace lives!

I wonder how these geniuses doing the study came up with the 2 billion dollar figure. For starters, a large majority of the games do not take place during normal workday hours. The only games that do are the first round match ups and many lack any type of suspense. I don’t think too many employers or bosses need to worry about their employees during the first few days of the tourney. I am a huge fan of the tournament, but my mind is fully on my job. I will check my phone to see how the games are progressing and that is it. No watching the games on any live stream feeds because most of the games at that point are relatively meaningless.

One of the great things about having a big office pool is that it brings people together and isn’t that one of the objectives of any work environment? I fully realize that some people are not basketball fans and do not like the constant basketball chat, but by and large, many like to discuss how their brackets are doing. It is a fun little competition between co-workers. A place that is fun to work at means employees are more than likely to be more productive.

If employers want to ban any type of office pool during the NCAA tournament, then perhaps they should also monitor other things that take place in the workplace. The person who feels annoyed when bracket chat takes place probably has no problem wanting to chat about something that he or she is deeply interested in and bothering other people as well. While we are at, perhaps employers should just ban employees from carrying their phones into the workplace. How much time and money is wasted with people texting or updating their status of Facebook.

A company who feels they are losing a lot of productivity and money during March Madness needs to look in the mirror and maybe realize that the problem is not the employees, but rather the employer themselves. I highly doubt employers are getting royally screwed like the study seems to suggest. Office brackets are a healthy thing for any company. Shouldn’t there be some part of work that is actually fun for a change? By the way, my boss is participating in our pool this year.


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