March Madness Strikes Again!

Yes, it is that time of year once again when employers can look forward to productivity shifts among their employees. The annual NCAA basketball tournament is upon us, and for those who like to gamble, here are some numbers that you can “bet” on with pretty decent odds:

  • $ 1.9 Billion: Cost of lost wages due to lack of productivity (Source: 2015 calculation of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.)
  • 22,000,000: Number of private-sector workers who participated in an office pool for March Madness (Source: 2013 CareerBuilder.com survey)
  • 81 percent: Percentage of HR professionals who say they don’t have policies addressing office pools (WalletHub Infographic)
  • 16 percent: Percentage of fans following the event via smartphone (WalletHub Infographic)
  • 17 percent: Percentage of people using PC to keep up with the event (WalletHub Infographic)

So what does this mean for those of us in HR? It is time to figure out where the organization stands on office pools and other events like March Madness. There is something to be said about the comradery and social piece that this event creates. It could increase morale in some environments. Whatever the decision, policy or no policy, it is important to remember that yes, the office is where we get work done, but at the end of the day, would a little fun at the office possibly aid in productivity year round? Maybe instead of “stopping the madness,” we need to look at embracing it and finding ways to manage employee performance. Have conversations with your employees related to expectations surrounding their involvement or non-involvement in office pools, use of company property to participate in these events, how their time is managed, and the consequences of non-performance. Of course, this should be an ongoing discussion, and not a result of a three-week sporting event!