SURVEY SAYS: March Madness in the Workplace

March 25, 2013 ( - We recently covered a survey that indicated managers think March Madness activities in the workplace have little effect on employee morale or productivity.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers what they think.  

Forty percent of responding readers indicated they think March Madness activities do not affect employee morale at all, but 42.5% believe they are a positive influence on morale. The rest said the affect on morale is positive for some employees and negative for others.  

Sixty percent of respondents reported they think March Madness activities do not affect employee productivity at all, and 30% said the effect on productivity is positive for some and negative for others. Five percent each chose March Madness activities affect productivity “in a positive way” and “in a negative way.”  

Slightly more than 69% of responding readers reported their company/boss neither encourages nor discourages March Madness activities in the workplace. Nearly 21% said their company/boss encourages them; more than 5% chose “discourages them,” and more than 5% indicated the activities are “prohibited.” No one reported their company/boss initiates March Madness activities in the workplace.  

While commenters were split between those who follow college hoops and those who don’t, most seem to believe workplace activities are harmless. However, some are definitely put off by the “madness”—and even the survey. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I just fill out a bracket sheet ay my husband’s place of employment to avoid a prohibited transaction!”  

Thanks to everyone who responded!


Every year we hear how billions of $ are lost in the U.S. economy due to betting on March madness. There are a couple of pools in our office, most are not involved, and those who are still get their job finished which is why I’m guessing the company management doesn't look at it. Time is spent on this and other distractions throughout the year but the work get finished, no money or productivity is lost or heads would roll.  


Not a lot of College hoops madness up here in Alaska. Down in Arizona, on the other hand...we didn't call the University of Arizona men's basketball team the "Cardiac" "Cats for nothing! Go AZ!!!!  


I tend to balk when work has "any sort" or campaign that focuses on March madness. Frankly I would rather pick lint off the carpet than watch a basketball game.  


It's all in fun; we don't discourage it. If it weren't March Madness, it would be something else like McDonald's Monopoly or group lottery ticket purchases when the rewards seem high enough.  


Work place life can get hum drum and the excitement this generates is good for morale and good for employee interaction. And if my Team- Oregon Wins it's even better.  


I just fill out a bracket sheet ay my husband's place of employment to avoid a prohibited transaction!  


I don't have time to complete the survey. I'm watching the games.  


March Madness and Spring Fever have a comparable impact on the workforce, in terms of morale and productivity. Funny how we don't hear about the Spring Fever part.  


we're a sporting goods company. we will be broadcasting all games on all of our infocasters throughout our campus. everyone is encouraged to watch. it's a morale booster for us since sports and events are who we are!  


Brings employees at all levels together; everyone has an equal shot. We allow family members and even pets to participate and have many "winners". Also include a trivia contest. Best sports event of the year for employee morale-and comes at the perfect time  


Since I'm not a basketball fan and couldn't care less about March Madness, I find it extremely annoying to be subjected to all the heated discussions when I'm just trying to get my work done! Bah, Humbug!

Verbatim (cont.)  

I am unlucky enough to share my office with a coworker who loudly discusses her picks with all and sundry. I have absolutely no interest in this. I am going to have to invest in a pair of ear plugs.  


I'm sure there are employees who follow the tournament and feel strongly one way or the other about certain teams, but generally speaking this is a non-event for us.  


March Madness distracts us from the ongoing winter weather.  


This is being done as one of monthly activities that employee may way to participant in. The purpose is to encourage more communication across departments. For myself, I do not follow college basketball, so I see it as exclusive rather than inclusive activity.  


We're roughly 70% female so, minimal interest/negligible impact. Now, if it was a Rachel Ray v Martha Stewart "thingy" they'd be dropping the gloves. Yeah, I know, I just earned a time out, mister.  


I have never even heard anyone talk about it, so it is a non-issue here.  


Overall, I think it encourages coworker morale/social benefits which are not always quantifiable and there is room to tolerate these activities provided folks are not shirking their responsibilities. OK to have fun as long as the work gets done!  


I am not a college basketball fan per se but my opinion is if the activities and discussions are held during lunch or before work hours that is fine. When people are in the hallway or in an office of a co-worker talking about March Madness for a half hour that can be a bit much.  


we are all super busy in our office this time of year. March Madness gives us something to talk about other than how busy we are!  


The amount of time employees spend goofing off on March Madness activities probably isn't too different from the time they'd spend goofing off on something else on any given day.  


Those "waste of time" surveys grab headlines and get coverage (even here). But they're really pretty silly excuses for "research". I think we should add up all the hours spent covering such silliness and put a price tag on THAT!  



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.