Madness in the workplace: Employers prepare for NCAA tourney’s impact

By Tonya Andris
Spencer News

With great hope, college basketball fans better have their brackets ready because March Madness is here.

NCAA Happy

Office pools for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are common place, but they can also cause workplace-related issues.

March 21 marks the return of office pools and the competition between employees to come out on top at the end of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on April 8. While picking Cinderella from the teams involved might sound fun, there are some negative sides to employees paying close attention to the games, including loss workplace productivity and possible issues for IT departments.

“March Madness is one of the most popular sporting events in the country, so many fans don’t want to miss a minute of it – even if they’re at work,” said Jack Cullen, president of Modis, a provider of information technology staffing services in North America. “However, streaming content can put a significant burden on networks and the IT professionals responsible for maintaining them. Instituting systems and policies to block or reduce access is really the most logical option.”

Timothy Scott, partner with the New Orleans office of Fisher and Phillips law firm, said it is important for companies to reinforce the company’s computer use policy and crack down on those who are extraneously using computer time.

“Companies must develop some kind of common sense approach to remind them of what is appropriate use of office computer equipment,” he said. “It would be impossible to ban all types of behaviors unless you are consistent with that all year around.”

Because of the outlandish popularity of March Madness, some companies recognize its importance to their employees and have turned the tables and made the tournament a win-win situation for all. For example, employer-sponsored office pools and awards for employees with the best – or worst – bracket. According to an Office Team survey of 1,000 managers, 1 in 5 (20 percent) felt activities tied to the college basketball playoffs improve employee morale at least somewhat.

“They (employers) know people are paying attention to it. This way, the bracket can become a way for employers to use it as a way to draw in everyone at the office and participate in team-building activities,” Scott said.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has taken steps to show everyone, regardless of where he or she works, can enjoy the NCAA tournament without getting in trouble with the boss. The company created the “Elite Eight” steps to March Madness office etiquette. Greg Phillips, Enterprise brand publicity manager, said the steps have received positive responses from employees.

Here are a few of the steps:

Lunch: It’s Not Just for Eating Any More: Be strategic with your “lunch hour” so it coincides with the ending of must-see games. During March, lunchtime is the middle-of-the-day excuse to tune in to CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV to check scores, brag to your friends about picking the big upset, or wipe your tears.

Face time: It’s OK to wear your team colors, but don’t overdo it. Face and body painting might freak out your co-workers and your boss might not appreciate your artistic expression.

Mobile Mania: Download the official NCAA March Madness Live app to your tablet, smartphone, and computer to get the ultimate access to all the basketball your heart desires while you bang away on another TPS report. Just don’t forget you have your ear buds in and make a scene when your team wins.

The full list of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Elite Eight office etiquette tips is available at

© 2013 Spencer News


One thought on “Madness in the workplace: Employers prepare for NCAA tourney’s impact

  1. Pingback: Madness in the workplace: Employers prepare for NCAA tourney’s impact - Spencer News

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