Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Keep March Madness from Going Out of Bounds in Your Workplace by Implementing These Policies

March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year, despite my less than stellar record of filling out my bracket. And it has become even better over the past few years with The March Madness streaming website, which allows you to watch games from pretty much everywhere at any time. One feature on this website that I find pretty amusing is the “boss button.” Employees can click this button when they are watching games and a PowerPoint presentation will pop onto the screen to make it look like they are working hard in case any of their supervisors happen to be walking by...

Or so I have been told...not that I would ever do such a thing.

The problem with March Madness, as things like the boss button show, is that it can sap employee productivity. Time that should be spent working is instead diverted to watching games or filling out brackets. Therefore, employers may want to consider having policies to deal with March Madness in the workplace. Employers should be proactive in implementing these policies before the March Madness hoopla becomes a serious impediment to productivity.

Employers may be tempted to ban anything related to March Madness in the workplace, preventing employees from filling out brackets and watching games at work. This, however, might actually prove counterproductive. There are so many ways that employees can watch games and fill out brackets that policing such a policy would be almost impossible. Employees may just spend more time trying to get around these rules. Plus, such a policy would likely harm morale. Rather, employers should consider putting limits on the amount of time that employees can spend watching games and checking their bracket at work.

Policies that prohibit employers from streaming games on company computers are reasonable, as doing this may slow internet connectivity and will likely prevent employees from focusing on their work. If an employer adopts this policy, it should consider putting the games on in break rooms. It should also consider allowing employees to check how their brackets are doing periodically, as this is not an overly time-consuming activity and will not tie up significant amounts of company bandwidth.

Also, employers may not want to organize pools where each employee fills out a bracket, contributes money into a pool, and then the gives the money to the person with the best bracket. This is technically considered an illegal bookmaking operation in Illinois and most other states. Instead, employers can still encourage their employees to fill out brackets, but instead of having each employee bet money on the outcome of the tournament, the employer can offer prizes to the person with the best bracket.

While I probably cannot give you much advice on how to fill out your bracket, I can give you advice about how to implement effective March Madness policies in your workplace. Feel free to contact me to do this.