- By blowing the whistle on March Madness participation, bosses across the U.S. are directly contributing to workplace dissatisfaction, a Perceptyx study found. In a survey of more than 700 employees, about two-thirds of respondents said they're tuned into the NCAA championships, but more than half of respondents say their workplace strictly forbids non-work-related media in the office.
- About 25% said their boss preemptively warned them against March Madness activities at work, and 70% of workers surveyed by Perceptyx said that relaxing media policies in the office would improve their view of their organization.
- Additionally, 60% of respondents said that a workplace that "isn't fun" would make them more likely to start job searching. Four out of five respondents also said that they have more energy for work when they're having fun.
As the Great Resignation continues, engagement tactics remain top of mind for corporate leadership. Employee happiness and workplace satisfaction are in short supply due to the pandemic. Enter March Madness and other sporting events, which, according to HR experts, provide an easy opportunity for workplace camaraderie.
In 2019, also known as the last time many knowledge workers were truly in the office, 72% of senior managers told Robert Half that March Madness typically raises worker morale. Likewise, a whopping 52% said the NCAA championships bolster productivity. The research firm found similarly positive results in 2018 and 2016.
While about half of workers surveyed by Robert Half in 2019 said that sports can be a distraction from work, a happy medium between full-on tailgates and a colorless workplace can exist. An HR expert previously told HR Dive that managers should emphasize the importance of turning in deliverables on time and celebrating in moderation. Otherwise, the games can be a "welcome" distraction that lifts employees' spirits.
Still, considering that many workers fill out brackets on the clock, employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas anticipates that corporate America will lose $16.3 billion to the 2022 tournament. Andrew Challenger, the firm's SVP of global placement and executive coaching, believes the gamble is worth it. Challenger recommended that employers designate a specific office workstation for streaming or encourage workers to watch the games in the break room with colleagues.
The boons of March Madness can extend to remote workers, thereby strengthening kinship across a hybrid workplace. "Employers could host a stream and invite workers to meet for a watch party during Thursday's and Friday's games," Challenger said in a press release. "Workers could wear jerseys or have Zoom backgrounds depicting their favorite NCAA teams."