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Join the Madness: Watching Sports at Work

March Madness


March Madness is upon us, and it will live up to its name: the American Gaming Association has already predicted more than 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets this year, which translates to more brackets than ballots cast for President Obama in the last election.

This madness doesn’t end when people are on the clock: an MSN survey shows an incredible 86% of employees plan to follow the tournament while at the office, whether they fill out a bracket, watch games at their desks, or check scores on their phones.

Employers can’t fight the fervor, and they shouldn’t. Managers should lean into the madness: acknowledge March Madness is happening. Let employees participate in the fun, but be clear that their deadlines still matter. This approach to March Madness encourages employee interaction and team-building, it fosters internal competition, and it boosts morale. Allowing employees this small indulgence goes a long way.

If your office is consumed by the tournament, odds are your clients’ offices are experiencing the same madness… capitalize on it. Use March Madness as an opportunity to reach out to old contacts, or invite clients to your office to watch games.

Here at LaSalle Network, we encourage employees to participate in March Madness: we have a bracket challenge, and employees are permitted to watch the games occasionally during lunch, with TVs set up in conference rooms.

… and we go one step further:

Every year we throw an open house for our clients, candidates, and contacts. We play the NCAA tournament on big screen TVs throughout the office; we cater in wings, hot dogs, popcorn, and homemade chili; and we bring in kegs and wine. Employees wear apparel from their alma maters, and they get to watch basketball all day.

Letting employees watch major sporting events – like the World Cup, the Olympics, and March Madness – helps them view work as a productive, social place to be instead of a prison they’re trapped at for eight to nine hours a day… and it pays off in the long run.