Staying productive during college basketball playoffs
It’s an annual ritual: Every March, postseason college basketball dominates sports headlines, consumes half a dozen TV networks and the time of millions of workers. During the first days of the tournament, college hoops are on view day and night.
Postseason college basketball boosts the economy through increased travel and tourism, not to mention ticket sales, advertising revenue and broadcast rights fees. However, the economy also takes a hit in March.
Employers across the country are calculated to lose approximately $2.1 billion in worker productivity during the first week of postseason basketball. The spectacle of the tournament draws workers’ attention away from job responsibilities at a high rate according to a recently published study from the outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
Forty million people fill out tournament brackets each year and many do so during work hours. Employees across the country will set up pools while “on the clock” and give prizes for the most accurate brackets. Some workers find the lure of office televisions and streaming video too great to resist and will sneak a peek at games in progress instead of attending to their jobs.
What to do if the postseason tournaments are an irresistible force
Postseason college basketball is very tempting, and it’s one of few major championship events in which competition takes place during the work day. And because there are so many teams playing in the postseason, most people have a rooting interest somewhere in the gaggle of participants.
So, if you just HAVE to see the games, consider a few of these options if you want to enjoy your passion and still fulfill your responsibilities to your employer.
- Record the games you most want to see that are played during work hours and watch them at a time and place of your choosing.
- If possible, arrive early to work and/or stay late to assure your job responsibilities are fulfilled so that you can take time to follow the scores or even watch parts of the games during the day.
- Take a late lunch hour that might coincide with the latter part of the game you most want to see.
- If you’re like some die-hard fans and can’t stand the thought of not following the action as it happens, take a couple of vacation days during the early stages and watch to your heart’s content.
What employers might consider
The Challenger, Gray and Christmas study encourages employers to consider postseason hoops as an investment in the workforce. Rather than trying to clamp down on people filling out brackets and tracking scores, they suggest loosening the reigns.
“Any attempt to do so would most likely result in long-term damage to employee morale, loyalty, and engagement that would far outweigh any short-term benefit to productivity,” said John Challenger, the firm’s CEO.
He says employers should embrace the event and seek ways to use it as a tool to foster camaraderie. He suggests office-wide pools for staff that are free to enter and offer lunches or gift cards for the winners.
“Consider giving employees longer lunches or offering longer breaks at other times throughout the day to allow them to catch games that interest them. These actions will go a long way in developing an inclusive corporate culture and boosting employee morale. Employers can also use the tournament as a selling-point for retention and recruitment purposes,” Challenger added.