Can College Basketball and Your Business Get Along?
Businesses often wonder whether it is a good idea to allow March Madness to take over the office the third month of every year. Sure, we all know that basketball hysteria this time of year gets in the way of things. Folks fill out their brackets, watch games online and chat about how they are doing. Everyone becomes a basketball expert. Not surprisingly, the geniuses over at The Onion have a unique take on that: “Bracketologist mistaken for Bracketiatrist.”
Not long ago, Newsweek valued the lost productivity at about $1.7 billion. But isn’t that losing the forest for the trees? It’s not big-picture thinking. Figures like that assume people are busy little bees while at work, humming along, doing their job all day, consistently and persistently productive.
Not surprisingly, the geniuses over at The Onion have a unique March Madness take: ‘Bracketologist mistaken for Bracketiatrist.’
But that’s not reality, is it? You work, you surf the net, you work, you get some coffee, you work, you go out for lunch, you work, you take a break, you chat, you work, you go home. Right?
So, while March Madness may, theoretically, get in the way of productivity, all it really does is take the place of something else that employees would be doing instead of work.
Considering the Good That Comes From Things Like March Madness
And in any case, the good that March Madness does easily outweighs any bad. For starters, the camaraderie that comes with bracketology is invaluable. The best workplaces are ones where employees get along, work together, and strive for the common good of the enterprise.
March Madness fosters that.
People who might normally not talk to each other find a reason to get to know each other. It gives people something to talk about other than work. It promotes teamwork and makes even the smallest freelance business office a more pleasant place to work.
People work for all sorts of reasons. We work for money, to socialize, to get ahead, for benefits, to learn skills, to be productive, for self-worth. Assuming that the only thing your staff is supposed to think and talk about is work, misses the boat.
And once you appreciate that work is about more than just work, you can begin to create an exceptional workplace. And know this too: Once your staff knows you want them to be satisfied whole bees and not just busy little worker bees, they will bend over backwards for you.
It’s ironic – the harder you push, the less you will probably get. It is sort of like trying too hard when you golf. You know that is when you do the worst. But as soon as you let go and trust, things flow easier.
March Madness Is About Going With the Flow
Sure, it has somewhat to do with the greatest sport ever invented, basketball, but equally, it has to do with treating employees like adults, letting them have some fun, trusting them enough to know their work will still get done, not being a jerk, and promoting workplace unity.
Great small and freelance businesses value something bigger than the bottom line. They value values. That is why March Madness at work should not just be tolerated, but encouraged. It is about creating the kind of business everyone likes to go to every day … or almost every day!
Someone should figure out a way to measure the value of having a happy workplace. If that ever happens we would see that whatever March Madness costs in productivity is made up, and then some, by increased goodwill and loyalty.