5 Ways to Bring Tournament Fun Into the Office Without Destroying Productivity
March 12, 2017
Most employers see a noticeable drop in work productivity and network speed during the weeks of the March basketball tournaments. An estimated 86 percent of Americans check scores, update brackets or livestream games at the office, and some dedicated fans skip work completely when the tournament games begin. Instead of letting the mania take over, embrace the opportunity to build team spirit and morale, and integrate college basketball into the workday. Work productivity may still suffer, but these simple ideas help to minimize the loss and keep employees engaged.
1. Organize a Basketball Office Pool
College basketball fans wagered over $9 billion on the March tournament games in 2015, according to the American Gaming Association. Office pools run rampant in workplaces throughout the nation during college basketball season, and managers typically disapprove of the activities. Bring the brackets out in the open this year by organizing a basketball office-pool contest. Encourage everyone to get involved by eliminating the entry fee, and award winners with assorted prizes, such as gift cards to local restaurants, vacation days and personalized fan gear.
2. Set up a College Basketball Action Center
The average basketball fan spends at least one hour of his workday keeping up with college tournament games. Keep employees focused and minimize downtime by establishing an action center for game-day activities. The breakroom is an ideal go-to spot to check brackets, keep up with scores and talk sports with co-workers, especially when there's a television tuned into the action. Informal meeting spaces, seldom-used conference rooms and vacant offices offer similar environments. Outfit the area with a dry-erase board to display an up-to-date bracket, along with plenty of pens, markers and college sports-themed decorations.
3. Start Tournament Week With a Bracket Meeting
The craze of March tournaments gears up at the close of selection day and doesn't wind down until the tournament tip-off. Give your team something to cheer about by scheduling a bracket meeting for Monday morning. Print empty brackets for every employee, announce your office pool and any other events planned for the remainder of the season, and enlist the help of a few seasoned fans to explain the basics of brackets. Use a dry-erase board or presentation chart to demonstrate the procedure, and offer assistance to co-workers who want it. This is also a good time to discuss any rules or expectations you may have for the weeks ahead.
4. Schedule Bracket Breaks
Some people fill out their college basketball brackets within a matter of minutes, but many people take their time and research the teams before making their selections. Help your employees focus on work by providing ample time for bracket talk before the first tip-off. Encourage employees to visit the designated basketball area of the office at their leisure, or schedule extra breaks specifically for research, discussion and bracket completion. Staff members are likely to spend more time in the breakroom or common areas during the tournament season so stock up on snacks and drinks to keep them energized.
5. Encourage Team Spirit
Generate excitement during basketball season by inviting employees to show off their spirit. Hold a cubicle decorating contest, and encourage your colleagues to deck their walls with logo-printed wall art and team-colored accessories. Trade in typical office attire for fan apparel during the tournament, and host at least one office-wide viewing party before the final game of the season. Cater the event if your budget allows, or ask your co-workers to bring in game-day favorites such as wings and nachos. Use pub-style tables with team logos, wall clocks and handmade paper garlands to lend a sports-friendly touch to the setup.
The excitement of tournament time doesn't have to wreak havoc on workplace productivity, and your employees don't have to forego the fun to stay focused. Harness the excitement of the upcoming games, and use it to make your office a happier, more productive workplace, regardless of the season.
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