March Brings “Madness” into the Workplace

March 15, 2011 ( – A new survey finds productivity suffers amidst the fun and excitement of March Madness activities in the workplace.

According to OfficeMax’s 2011 “Hoops at Work” survey, 51% of working Americans polled say that professionals at their workplace typically organize an office pool where anyone can place bets on their favorite teams during the national college basketball tournament – even if the company discourages the behavior.   

However, being part of a tournament pool – keeping up to date on team statistics, wins and overall progress – can take up time. A press release said nearly half (48%) of respondents check the game scores online at least once a day while at work. Of that 48%, on average those employees will scope out game results five times a day when they are on the clock at work.   

Four in ten (42%) respondents admit that workplace productivity is negatively impacted by March Madness activities. Some report that colleagues talk about the games instead of doing their jobs (55%), watch the games on TV or online ignoring their workload (47%), or even leave work early (21%) or arrive late (19%) because they are watching the tournament.  

According to the press release, more than half (51%) of respondents reported they plan to partake in an office pool during the basketball tournament if a colleague organizes one. More men than women (59% vs. 44%) plan to join a pool at their place of employment, if available.  

Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated they do not engage in tournament pools, as such activities are strictly prohibited by their employers.  

About two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed are allowed to openly celebrate their favorite teams in the workplace and display their team spirit by wearing team apparel like jerseys or hats (52%), donning their team’s colors (50%), or proudly displaying their bracket boards to track their team’s progress (25%).