March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament, begins this month, which means water cooler discussions over upsets and scores could dominate over the next few weeks.
More than other sporting events, March Madness leaks into the workplace over the three weeks of the tournament, with many games taking place during the workday.
OfficeTeam, a staffing company, conducted a poll of more than 600 managers and employees about their office’s culture around March Madness and other sporting events.
The survey found a quarter of employers organize office activities around sporting events. Around 40 percent of managers who organize sports related activities in the workplace, say the biggest benefit of these activities is showing that the company supports a mix of work and play. A quarter of managers say these activities give employees a break from the daily grind of work.
A third of employees say if their employer supports participating in the tournament, they would like the opportunity to watch games at work. But 27 percent say they don’t want to celebrate sporting events at work, showing an equal divide on the issue.
Almost 70 percent of employees saying celebrating sports at work improve general employee happiness in the workplace.
While it may seem like airing basketball games in the workplace and promoting office competitions would distract employees, the report shows otherwise. Eleven percent of employees say they are distracted at work the day after an important game, and more than two-thirds of those surveyed say sporting events have no effect on their work performance.
The OfficeTeam survey utilized services from independent research firms, and polled 300 senior managers at companies with more than 20 employees, as well as 300 employees working in office environments.