March marks the start of spring. It’s also jam-packed with basketball thanks to the NCAA Men and Women’s Division-I Basketball Tournament featuring dozens of college basketball teams competing for top bragging rights.
While it’s a fun time of year for sports fans, some businesses are concerned that employees will be distracted by their game brackets or streaming devices watching games rather than being productive during working hours. A WalletHub article claims businesses lose $13.8 billion annually due to distracted workers during the tournament.
Here are some ideas for encouraging a work environment that is both productive and flexible enough to allow for some sporting pleasure during this time of year.
Show Team Spirit
Who doesn’t enjoy a dress-down day at work? Employees can show their team spirit by wearing the colors or jerseys of their favorite teams on a specified casual day. Take it one step further and allow employees to decorate their workspaces to show team support. Allowing team spirit can also help foster better work relationships between employees.
Celebrate with Game Day Food
Employees almost always value a good tailgate or potluck at work. Encourage employees to bring their favorite game-time snacks or arrange a catered lunch. If there is a friendly competition in the company (that doesn’t involve money) about who will win the tournament, raise the reward by treating the winning team to lunch outside the office. Lunch or break time is also a great time to look at where teams stand on brackets rather than during peak work hours or in meetings.
Bracket and Streaming Boundaries
College basketball fans take their brackets seriously. Co-workers may want to get together to see how their brackets are shaping up, exchange joy or sadness following a team’s win or loss, or catch the latest tournament games on their devices. Prepare a strategy for the basketball event, and remember that work and fun can coexist. Balance is the key. Set everyone up for success and circulate any streaming policies or other relevant protocols listed in the employee handbook before the start of the tournament. A friendly reminder will go a long way.