That Time of Year Again – Embrace the Madness!

It’s that time of year when many companies experience a slowdown in their Internet speeds and a loss of productivity.  That’s right – March Madness is here!

The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament a.k.a. March Madness began March 13 and concludes April 2, 2012.

According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, March Madness fans spend about 90 minutes each game day watching games and checking scores.  The firm estimates that about 2.5 million workers will watch the tournament by streaming the games online or watching TV.

This can be a headache for IT and HR departments, along with managers who are trying to maintain productivity levels.

However, March Madness can have an upside.  Office pools and the water cooler chatter about college basketball can actually encourage camaraderie and help to boost employee morale.

HR POINTER: The key is to use March Madness to your advantage such as sponsoring a March Madness Event at the office or holding an office pool.

The point is to use this event and other similar non-company events as a way for employees from different departments to interact with each other rather than simply surviving within their departmental silos.

Obviously in sponsoring such an event, we need to remind employees of the importance of meeting their ongoing work responsibilities.

Additionally, companies need to check state laws regarding office pools that involve betting to prevent any violations, especially where supervisory employees are involved.

Embracing March Madness sure beats racing around the office trying to catch employees watching the games online, before those employees can click the CBS “Boss Button,” which instantly hides the tournament webcast behind a fake spreadsheet.

And remember…if employees are getting all of their work done, customers are happy, no laws are broken, and the biggest problem is a slow Internet connection for a couple of days, it may be best to let it slide.

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