Over 70 million brackets are filled out by people excited to watch 68 teams play for the college basketball national championship during the month of March every year. In fact, according to Robert Half, the average worker will spend six hours watching March Madness at work with many taking part in some type of March Madness work-themed activity during the month-long event.
This means that the ball is in the employer’s court when it comes to handling March Madness in the workplace. Should you put a stop to it or embrace it?
How about instead of discouraging March Madness in the workplace as is often the case, employers embraced the month-long event as an opportunity to improve employee morale and team building? Consider how creating simple, fun and interactive activities might bring your team together, including those who do not watch March Madness.
Here are five fun ways to celebrate March Madness in the workplace and promote work-team spirit:
1. Create a Bracket Challenge with No Buy-In
One of the greatest parts of March Madness is filling out a bracket predicting who will win and taking part in pools with co-workers. Typically, however, pools involving money in the workplace leads down a slippery slope. (Because of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 and because co-workers owing each other money can be tricky, pools involving money in the workplace are typically not encouraged.)
An alternative game plan can be creating an office pool with no buy-in and attach a simple reward such as a gift card, extra a day of PTO, a new office chair, etc. Be creative as to what would be meaningful to your team. This pool allows everyone to participate while also avoiding any unfortunate situations.
2. Set Up a Viewing Room
Employees spend 25.5 minutes a day watching March Madness every year, according to Robert Half. With access on the computer and their smartphones, it is easier than ever for employees to get distracted at their desk. Creating a space that allows employees to watch games during lunch and breaks with expectations that work must still be completed can create more buy-in.
3. Organize a Potluck
What better way to kick off March Madness then with good food? You could even challenge employees to bring their favorite game-day snacks. Invite everyone to participate in the potluck so those that may not be into sports can also feel included in the celebrations.
4. Allow Employees to Wear Team Colors
When appropriate, relax the dress code policy so employees can wear a team jersey or shirt supporting their favorite team during the college playoffs. It will create an opportunity for employees to show their personality and get to know each other better. Remind team members to keep apparel PG – no offensive language, please.
5. Decorate Workspaces
To show support all month long, allow employees to show off their favorite team in their workspace or within the office. You may even consider awarding a prize to the best decorated office space, allowing another opportunity for employees to share their personality and team spirit in a safe, celebratory way.
Embracing the madness of March and building up your company’s team spirit in the process can be a real game-winning move for everyone.
Want more help and ideas on how to build employee morale, culture, and engagement? Contact Close HR, your “boots on the ground” HR support team.