With brackets completed, March Madness 2017 is officially underway. And a new survey says that while the three-week long National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament may be a huge distraction, it may also be a great tool for employee bonding.
For some workers, checking the performance of one’s bracket at work can prove worrisome. Like checking Facebook, it’s a distraction most would rather their manager not witness. But it can also be a bonding activity in the workplace—something a manager would likely want to see.
A recent survey by Randstad U.S., an HR and staffing company, quantified just how much American workers enjoy participating in office pools. The survey asked over 1,000 workers about March Madness, and found that 89 percent of those surveyed said that participating in NCAA brackets at work helped build team camaraderie, and that this simple activity made their jobs more enjoyable. Perhaps the most surprising number from the survey: Seventy-three percent of workers said they look forward to going to work more when they’re part of an office pool.
Ben Wright, a marketing professor at Ball State University who was not involved with the survey, says it’s silly for companies to fight March Madness. He believes companies should integrate college basketball into the workplace, not only because curbing office pools might not be feasible, but because any perceived productivity losses are likely inflated, and they’re also offset by boosts in morale. The only exception seems to be among workers at colleges that experience unexpected tournament wins. In those cases, one study found that work declined by 19 percent on the day following a win.