You don't have to be a college basketball fan to enjoy March Madness. In fact, March Madness can actually be a great opportunity for workplace bonding.
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament kicks off in mid-March and runs into the start of April, and office pools have become extremely common and popular in American workplaces. However, March Madness office pools can be somewhat of a gray area for many companies, so a lot of businesses just prohibit them altogether to be safe.
But, chances are many of your employees are part of a March Madness pool outside of work, which can lead to a distracted workforce when the tournament begins.
The tournament's opening games (where many of the upsets take place) start smack dab in the middle of the workday on Thursday and Friday. Advancements in technology have made it easy for fans to stream these games on their phones from everywhere, including work. Discussion about the tournament has probably infiltrated the break room and water cooler talk.
According to a 2019 survey from staffing and recruiting agency Robert Half, 72% of senior managers said college basketball tournament activities have a positive impact on staff morale and more than half of survey respondents, 52%, also see productivity benefits.
So, rather than dreading March Madness, here are three ways to bring the office together.
Host An Office Potluck
With a batch of opening games occurring on a Friday afternoon, this lends itself to an extended lunch period or a shorter workday. This could be a great opportunity to let the workforce come together to watch some of the games and enjoy some good food.
Co-workers love coming together to enjoy food, and potlucks typically provide a nice variety of offerings. Employees could also wear their favorite basketball or sports jersey for the gathering.
For those not interested in the basketball games, it's an opportunity to relax for a little bit and catch up with co-workers. The office could also hold other activities and team bonding exercises during the time period, to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to make best use of their time.
Organize A Money-Less Office Pool
Many companies don't want to deal with the potential ramifications and drama of dealing with office pools where money is exchanged between employees. But what if you took money out of the equation?
A company could hold an office pool where the prizes are not financial, but work-related. It could be for things such as an extra personal/vacation/sick day, lunch with the CEO, a chance to choose the next company outing, or charitable donations.
The options are unlimited and there are several other prizes the company could throw in. Doing the pool this way encourages some friendly competition, while taking any potential gambling concerns out of the equation.
Make March Madness Your Own
Forget college basketball. Perhaps March Madness means something totally different to the company.
It could be an opportunity to do a major sales push, where if employees meet some aggressive goals they could either earn a bonus or another type of award.
Make March Madness some type of company initiative that helps to ramp up intensity at the workplace. Employees will be so focused on their work, they won't have time to be distracted by basketball.
Companies interested in going another direction could also use March as a month to recognize employees, push training opportunities, or focus on community service initiatives.
Tell Us Your March Madness Story
Many companies will let March Madness pass by without acknowledging it, and that's totally fine. But there are many opportunities available to have fun with it and add value for your employees.
Does your company have a cool March Madness story or another company initiative that deserves recognition? Let Work It Daily feature it to thousands of job seekers and potential employees!
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