How March Madness Improves Productivity

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If your boss is worried that March Madness is going to affect your productivity, tell them to worry no longer. Recent evidence suggests that playing March Madness at the office might actually improve productivity. This excerpt from ABC News gives you the results of a survey conducted by OfficeTeam.



One survey, released earlier this month by online staffing service OfficeTeam, finds managers’ attitudes toward their employees’ playing March Madness (the NCAA’s basketball tournament) have changed dramatically:  In 2010, 22 percent of executives said they viewed March Madness  activities, including watching games and betting, as having an adverse effect on employee output.

Now, however, only 9 percent retain that same negative view.  Seventy-five percent think playing March Madness at work has no impact on productivity; and 16 percent call its impact either “somewhat positive” or “very positive.”

Robert Hosking, executive director of Menlo, Calif.-based OfficeTeam, said he thinks one explanation might be the strengthening economy. In 2010, he speculates, employers were having to find ways to do more with less.

“Taking time away from work has more impact,” he said, “when you’re stretched thin.”

Now, having weathered the downturn, they might be less worried about productivity.

He offered a second explanation: Fewer employees now work a standard 9-to-5 day. The line between office and home has become blurred, he says, with more workers opting to finish tasks at home that they had left undone at the office, sometimes because they used office time for personal recreation.

“Absolutely, they are making up time at home,” Hosking said. “There’s much more flexibility today than there was a few years ago. Your job still needs to get done. But if you come in early or work at home, employers are OK with that.”

What’s necessary, he says, is that employers be clear what rules apply to a diversion such as March Madness. OfficeTeam suggests five rules, including requiring employees to request time off in advance to watch the playoffs.

What are your thoughts about March Madness in the workplace? Leave your comment below.


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