Posted by Cognito on Mon, Mar 24 2014

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Four Ways to Actually Boost Productivity during March Madness

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March Madness has arrived, the most wonderful time of the year for sports fanatics. During this time, an overload of college basketball games seemingly takes over every television in the United States. Many employees either call out of work “sick” to watch from home or set up shop in the office with streaming stats and videos behind their Outlook to discreetly keep up with games.

Interestingly enough, financial services is the most popular industry for March Madness bets, according to a recent survey by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder. Believe it or not, employers that embrace March Madness excitement have the potential to turn what might be seen a productivity drain into a morale and output booster. In fact, an OfficeTeam study concluded that nearly a third of senior managers say activities related to the NCAA Tournament do just that.

Managers are wise to embrace March Madness in the office rather than discourage employees from taking part in the excitement (since they are likely to do so anyway). Some suggestions include:

Bracket Competitions – Given that nearly 50 million people will participate in a bracket competition outside of the office, set up a competition within your organization. This offers groups a unique opportunity to engage and connect. Not everyone is a sports fanatic, but by creating a friendly competition each employee will have some vested interest in the games. By facilitating different ways to build personal bonds, businesses are offering another way to enchant their workforce and increase overall productivity in the long run.

Television “Safe Zones” – Rather than discouraging workers from watching the games, play the games on televisions in the common areas of the office. This will help to minimize the secret videos streaming in the background of computers and actually encourage workers (and clients that may be in the office) to interact who might not do so in the normal day-to-day setting. Managers may be surprised to find new ways to bond with employees and clients and strengthen relationships across the board in the process.

Host an Internal Party – It is no surprise that with so many people following March Madness that when there is a big game, most employees are rushing their last few items out the door to make it home (or to the bar) in time for tip-off. Businesses should explore hosting internal parties at the office for the games starting after the normal office hours wrap. This can potentially improve the quality of work during the last few hours of the day when everyone is trying to get their projects done as quickly as possible to get out the door.

Get Creative – Even in the most conservative offices there should be a little bit of room for creative design. Companies could encourage employees to show support for their team by decorating their desks or wearing school colors. Doing this can increase banter and camaraderie among employees.

While the office is not the place for an all-out March Madness frenzy, there are ways to weave the passion and enthusiasm into a company’s culture and actually gain from it. Even Warren Buffett is encouraging bracket challenges this year!

Business, Financial Services, Warren Buffett,
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