March Madness is back again at a workplace near
you and maybe even at your own. With 27 Canadians participating in
this years' tournament, public interest on this side of the
border will be at an all-time high. Canadians have been exposed to
teams like the Jawhawks, Orange and the Wolverines on Canadian
networks and in Canadian media thanks to Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and Nik
Last year this time, Darren Heitner wrote March Madness Employee Productivity Problem is
Overstated, Yet Influences Corporate Change in which he
reported that a survey of 500 IT professionals disclosed that
one-third were preparing to block, ban or slow down streamed March
Madness content and 29% of those surveyed believed that content
policies would get stricter over the next couple of years. Only 4%
reported that policies will become more relaxed with time.
Heitner went on to say panic over productivity during March
Madness might be "grossly inappropriate', overstated and
much ado about nothing:
In reality, the concern about a diminishing amount of
productivity may be much to do about nothing. Challenger Gray &
Christmas has made a name for itself through its annual study, but
admits (at the end of its report), that 'many will simply get a
little more work done before or after the tournament to make up for
any slowdown when games are on during office hours. In the end,
March Madness will have little if any impact on employers.'
But here's the thing: Many people taking time to fill out
their office bracket or surreptitiously catch the last two minutes
of a game while at work are also answering e-mail while they sit on
their couches at home. Worrying about how much productivity is lost
a few weeks every spring ignores how much productivity is gained
when employees do work while watching sports at home the rest of
So let's cool it a little on the March Madness productivity
panic. The intertwining of our professional and personal lives is
not really news. And it's not going to change anytime soon.
Some workplaces latch onto the so-called "benefit" of
allowing employees to participate in March Madness activities in
the name of increased employee morale. Charlsie Dewey suggested March Madness shoots for employee
morale that companies should allow staff to wear their
favorite teams' apparel or decorate their workspaces (within
reason) to get in the spirit. Hopefully your workplace is not
filled with fans of Oregon.
The Bottom Line
Whether March Madness is an issue or not at your workplace is
something only you know given your particular workplace and
employees. Regardless of whether it's really much ado about
nothing or whether you intend to increase employee morale, March
Madness is a good time to review your workplace rules so that
everyone knows what's expected including the following
Appropriate computer and internet use
While there may also be other relevant policies, these four seem
to be the ones most vulnerable to March Madness breaches. Remember,
as Charlsie Dewey suggests and as we have said from time to time,
there is ALWAYS room for fun in the workplace. Putting an unwieldy
damper on an opportunity that could increase employee morale should
always be well thought out beforehand. Look for, and explore,
opportunities and solutions that are appropriate for your workplace
before taking too restrictive an approach to March Madness.
Good luck with your brackets, live streaming and evading IT
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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