March Madness in the Office

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Ahhh, March Madness. Dear, sweet, March Madness. I love March Madness. Not only because my alma mater is a No. 1 seed – or because numerous people have said they’re going all the way this year (and no, I didn’t go to UNC). Sure, those things help; but really, I love March Madness for the sheer excitement of the big dance, from the underdogs who come out on top to filling out brackets with friends and co-workers.
Which brings me to my next point: the infamous office pool. Numerous studies have been released in recent weeks regarding office pools and how they affect worker productivity during this time of year. Here are some of the findings:

  • 19 percent of workers have participated in March Madness pools at the office and 24 percent have paid more than $10 to enter. (Source:
  • March Madness 2008 should end up costing U.S. employers more than $1.7 billion. (Source: Challenger, Gray and Christmas)
  • Nearly half of all U.S. workers will participate in office pools. (Source: Spherion Inc.)
  • Nearly 25 percent pf workers will watch or follow the tourney on their computers at work. (Source: Spherion Inc.)
  • 10 percent of all workers have called in sick so they could watch afternoon college basketball during the first round of the NCAA tournament. (Source: Spherion Inc.)
  • 24 percent of male workers participate in office pools versus 13 percent of females. (Source:
  • 26 percent of workers in 2008 say they have watched or followed sports events online during work hours. (Source: Bensinger DuPont & Associates)

Have you entered an office tournament pool this year? If so, here are some tips to stay focused at work and still make the most out of your bracket.

  1. Use your lunch hour accordingly. Most of the games played on Thursday and Friday are during lunch hours from 11-2pm. Take your lunch hour to watch a game you really want to see, so you don’t waste “working hours” watching your favorite team. You’ll be able to catch all of the other games after work at your leisure.
  2. Get your work done early. If you know the afternoon has back-to-back games you’ll want to pay attention to, make it a point to get your meetings, conference calls and important projects done in the mornings. Use the afternoon for things that take less concentration so you can catch a quick bit of the game now and then.
  3. Don’t bet too much money. You’re likely to pay more attention to games if you’ve got a lot invested in them – especially your money. Keep your betting to a minimum in the office pool. It will save you time, productivity, money – and face.
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