Working March Madness Community

Bloomberg News reports that March Madness — the college basketball tournaments and accompanying mania that happen in the US this time of year — “may cost U.S. employers $1.2 billion in lost productivity before the winner is crowned April 2.” The problem (if that’s a problem) is that with the games being broadcast Thursday and Friday, “fans who should be working will be stealing glimpses of the action on television or the Internet and tracking the progress of their office pools.”

The president of the consulting firm that arrived at this estimate, suggests that:

even with the potential loss of productivity, employers can make the NCAA tournament a “good buy” by seizing a chance to boost morale.

It’s a ready-made event to create community and develop relationships,” Challenger said. “It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the distraction to build camaraderie among staff.”

I’m not mad about pushing fandom in the workplace, as it’s too easy to fall on the outsider side of that divide. But living here in Jayhawk country, where March Madness is a very very big deal, it does seem foolish to let all that good collective energy go to waste. The really smart (computer-based) workplace would set up a game viewing page that people could keep up in the corner of their screens with a real-time chat window to accompany it, so people could watch the game together and get work done at the same time. It’s not like we don’t all know how to multitask by now.

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