Data shows March Madness helps office productivity

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Free Enterprise

Attention business owners: There’s more to cheer about than your favorite team making it past the first round in the NCAA Tournament this year. According to University of Richmond psychologist Donelson Forsyth, participation in company betting pools, checking score updates, and coffee chatter about March Madness are all good for an office – they can even be profitable.

“Certainly time will be taken away from tasks we’re doing, but the gain in terms of energy and overall cohesiveness in the long run will have a positive yield,” Forsyth told The Huffington Post.

A 2011 Robert Morris University survey showed that employees who watched tournament games on company time viewed their jobs more positively in the long run. The survey also revealed that denying workers the guilty pleasures of March Madness will stir resentment that will last well beyond the championship game.

With the tournament tipping off tomorrow in Louisville, employees can look to learn a lot about each other based on their brackets. Do they make decisions based on emotions? Is their favorite team their chosen winner? Did they pick only first or second seeds, or did they take big risks?

Opposing research points out the man-hours wasted during March Madness, with one study estimating $192 million in lost productivity. Forsyth recognizes the research, but suggests that the office pool and other tournament rituals can override a temporary dip in output.

Click here to read the full post on Forsyth’s thoughts about the NCAA Tournament and its impact on business.

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