Let the Games Begin!

March 20, 2019

The college basketball season’s March Madness tournament begins today.  Stories abound as to how costly this is to businesses.  The popular belief is that employees, who are distracted from their work because they are following their bracket sheet selections, are less productive. I am here to offer a dissenting opinion - March Madness is actually a wellness-promoting activity!


A few years ago, a California-based staffing firm, OfficeTeam, surveyed 300 senior managers at companies with more than 20 employees.  The survey results sugg


est that March Madness may even benefit a work environment.  Here are some of the findings: 

  • 32% of managers said the tournament boosts employee morale

  • 27% said they felt March Madness has a positive impact on worker productivity

  • 62% said the tournament has no effect on productivity or morale

  • 7% said the tournament had a negative effect on morale

  • 11% said it negatively affected productivity

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have run a March Madness pool for family and friends for almost 20 years.  It has become a holiday-like event that connects people for three fun-filled weeks, and promotes a connection that lasts throughout the year.  It attracts a wide demographic and sports knowledge is not a prerequisite – case in point, my pool is seldom won by devoted sports fans. Much to their chagrin, the pool is usually won by a member who makes their picks based on their favorite mascot or team colors.


Whether your organization has an interest in March Madness or something very different, social events can have a very positive affect on the well being, morale and even the productivity of the workforce. Bestselling author and former Gallup researcher, Tom Rath, in “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements,” suggests that we need at least six hours of social time every day to maximize wellbeing and minimize stress and worry.  This includes time socializing with family, friends and colleagues at home, at work, on the phone, via email, or through social media.  If you can achieve that without March Madness, good for you.  But, please be nice to those of us who choose to get our six hours from hoops hysteria!


“Shoot” For Six!

M. J.

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