For sports fans, the most exciting time of the year has arrived — March Madness. As the boss, you’re probably already concerned about the level of commitment many of your employees have to the NCAA tournament, considering many of the games are played during the workday.
What you might not realize is management is actually much more likely to participate in a March Madness office pool than the rest of the team. Specifically, 27 percent of executives, directors and managers plan to join in the office bracket challenges, compared with 19 percent of professional staff and technical employees.
Whether you like it or not, March Madness is happening, so it’s best to come up with a plan to manage alongside it.
Here’s some advice to allow your college basketball fans to enjoy the tournament, without impacting their output.
4 Ways to Keep Productivity Up During March Madness
You can’t beat March Madness, so it’s best to join in some capacity. Setting rules around when basketball games can be watched, scores can be discussed and brackets can be compared will create structure amid the chaos.
It might be tempting to completely outlaw all things basketball, but that will likely cause morale to plummet. Giving a little will make employees feel grateful to have such a fun manager and they’ll reward you by putting their tournament energy back into their work.
Give Extra Breaks
When big games happen during the workday that your employees are particularly interested in, entice them to work efficiently by offering extra breaks. This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s essentially the practice of scheduling their time in chunks. Having them block a certain amount of time off on their calendar for work will help them stay focused, because they know a basketball-oriented break is on the horizon.
Be Flexible With Schedules
Like it or not, it can be hard to get employees to concentrate when a big game happens during a workday. When possible, avoid this by allowing people to adjust their work hours to coincide with games they really want to watch.
For example, you might allow them to take a long lunch to catch a noon game and make up the time by working late or come in early and leave early to watch a late afternoon game. This is an all-around win, because work is completed on schedule and your employees get to watch the game in real time.
Create a (Non-Basketball) Competition
Motivate your team to stay focused by creating a work-related challenge they can’t resist. For example, you could give everyone who achieves a certain level of output a cash bonus or a gift card. This will help people keep their minds on work, instead of the current status of their bracket.
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