Monday, March 12, 2012

Do you pay employees to watch March Madness?

Whether you like it or not, chances are your employees, coworkers, and peers are being paid to watch college basketball this month. If you work at ESPN or Sports Illustrated, that might not surprise you, but if you work in non-sports related fields, the amount of lost productivity might be jarring.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates that March Madness could attract more than 2.5 million online visitors per day, each spending an average of 90 minutes watching games. Challenger estimates in their somewhat tongue-in-cheek annual March Madness report that employers will end up paying distracted workers about $175 million over the first two full days of the tournament. (SOURCE:  Challenger, Gray & Christmas march 1, 2012 Press Release)

In addition to Challenger Gray's estimation, an MSN survey revealed 86 percent of respondents said they plan to devote at least some time during their work day to follow games, scores and updates.

Obviously, March Madness is not going to be the downfall of the American economy.

Just as obvious is the fact that workers are distracted from their jobs for the next few weeks. It might be time to embrace the Madness and plan for it.

  • Are project timelines going to be jeopardized? Perhaps they could be adjusted? Or, extra quality control measures might need to be activated this month.
  • How could you benefit from the tournament? Use it as a bonding experience within the office. Schedule game watches over lunch or after work, stream score updates, create your own tournament using company trivia instead of basketball. Or, hold your own basketball tournament.
Anticipate the productivity loss, monitor it so it does not get out of control, and embrace it if you can. As an All-In leader, if your employees love college basketball and get wrapped up in it, don't fight their enthusiasm. Capture it!

1 comment:

  1. I can say, equivically, YES I feel like I pay employees to both watch march madness and check facebook many times a day. However, after much thought, I feel that I must take a "google" appraoch and try to make the workplace environment fun and accepting so that my employees want to spend as much time there as possible.