The Madness of March


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The seeding for the NCAA Basketball Tournament was released earlier this week.  As soon as it happened, the news immediately began covering the phenomenon.  Coverage ranging from who the top picks are to how you should fill out a bracket, a LOT of time is already being spent on this event.  I guess since collegiate sports do bring in so much money, the coverage is appropriate.  In the midst of all of the bracket-ology, talks of “bracket-busters” and the usual trash-talk associated with sports, I thought it would be appropriate to look a little deeper into the subject of March Madness, more specifically, the effects it could and should have at work.

What COULD happen at work:

  • Loss of productivity – Games will be televised simultaneously throughout the work day.  It’s tempting to watch the scores, even the internet broadcast, of each of your picks (and those that aren’t your picks.)  Don’t fall into this trap!  Find a time to check in, like a coffee break or lunch, make your notes, and update your brackets later.  You’re at work to work, not watch basketball.  Unless you’re in the sports industry…then that’s another matter…
  • Gambling – Brackets are finished, office pools get started.  Be careful joining in on the pool.  Make sure you know your company’s policy on the subject.  If you don’t know, ASK!  People have been fired for less.  Don’t let something as silly as March Madness derail your career.
  • Department rifts – Healthy competition among teams and departments can be all in good fun, but be mindful of rifts that your little bracket contest could cause.  Don’t pressure people into participating in your activity.  Also, remember why you’re at work.  Chances are good that it’s not to talk about basketball all day.  Give everyone a break and be respectful of others.

What SHOULD happen:

  • Teamwork – March Madness is about basketball.  The team doesn’t work unless they play as a team.  Pay special attention to the teamwork exhibited by the players and find your place on your own team, whether it’s guard, forward, center, coach or water boy.  Each part matters!
  • Productivity skyrockets– WHAT??  Yes, you heard me.  The competitive spirit of March Madness should extend beyond the bracket.  It’s okay to keep an eye on your team picks, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you have a job to do.  People depend on you to do that job to the best of your ability.  March isn’t a month for auto-pilot.
  • Rejuvenation – Think about how you feel after a short workout during the week.  Energized, right?  Taking a short break from the task at hand isn’t a bad thing.  Give your brain a minute to decompress.  When I get home from a long day at work, the first thing I do is watch about 15 minutes of cartoons.  Why do I do this?  Bright colors, light-hearted music, and simple plots to follow – that’s why.  It’s my time.  After about 15 minutes, I’m good as new, ready to take on the next challenge!

What do YOU think?  Do things like March Madness bring people and teams together or do they tear them apart?  I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here, so let me know!  Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.  As always, thanks for reading.

Here’s a little bonus for you, courtesy of my friends at Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Elite 8 Office Etiquette Tips for NCAA March Madness:


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