The 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship begins Tuesday, March 18. The tournament brings Cinderella teams, buzzer beaters, rabid fans and, of course, tournament brackets. And workplaces around the country are caught up in March Madness. The ease of organization is what makes the tournament attractive for office pools. Brackets are readily available for download from web sites like ESPN.com and NewYorkTimes.com. A recent survey by Vault Inc. reports that 57% of employees participate in NCAA basketball pools.
While some argue that filling out brackets can hinder productivity, many employers are viewing office pools as a team building activity for their workers. If it’s well organized, a pool like this can benefit the workplace by providing a regular fun activity and develop camaraderie among team workers. To ensure a pool is well organized, experts suggest the winnings must be divided among players, allowing all workers who wish to play and conduct the pool in person instead of over the phone or through e-mails.
Although the Vault Inc. survey reports that 86% of offices don’t have policies against pool betting, it is wise to check your company’s policy before joining or starting a pool. In some states, unlicensed gambling, like office pools, may be considered criminal activity. If that’s the case where you are, there are many alternatives. Participants can play for gift certificates, sports or movie tickets, or for proceeds to go to charity. By taking out the monetary aspect, non-gambling pools are perfectly legal.