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March Madness Costs Businesses Money

GWEN MORAN of recently stated….

“It’s March Madness and you know what that means: U.S. companies are poised to take a productivity smack-down. Chicago-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., estimates that March Madness will cost at least $134 million in “lost wages” over the first two days of the tournament, as an estimated 3 million employees spend one to three hours following the basketball games instead of working.”

Hmmm…$134 million. Thats a lot of money, even I it’s fragments here and there. Here at Limitless Technology ~ Cost Reduction Specialists, we’re not big on ever losing money or productivity.


Now there are some who look to use this as a positive time, and turn lemons into lemonade. John Mahoney, chief operating officer of staffing services firm Kavaliro, which has offices in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, is one of those people. He advises companies to embrace March Madness as a morale-builder and a chance to have some fun. In his company’s headquarters, the conference room television has one of the games on it when the room isn’t in use. The employees engage in friendly ribbing over their favorite teams and a levity enters the workforce that one rarely sees in an office setting.



Here are four lessons he says companies can learn from March Madness.


1) Underdogs win. From the Murray State Racers to the Butler Bulldogs, every year, a Cinderella team upsets one of the legacy teams. When your company is up against a big competitor, this reminder can be inspirational and encourage your employees to bring their A-game, no matter what the odds.

2) Working together works. The big trophy goes to teams whose members work together. Backstabbing, infighting, blame — these are poisonous habits for companies just as they are for basketball teams, Mahoney says. The big wins happen when everyone works together for the good of the team (or the company).

3) Fun matters. Basketball is fun. It’s fun to watch the games. It’s fun to try to predict who is going to win. It’s fun to trash-talk with your co-workers. Enjoying the tournament together instead of fighting with employees about sneaking a peek at the games is going to build good will and make the office environment a much more pleasant place to be.

“When you let people enjoy the things they love instead of trying to control them, and you trust them to do the right thing, that pays off for the company,” he says.

4) Some moments really matter. The NCAA tournament is a chance for the teams who made it to leave behind their season records. It’s a blank slate where anyone can win title “National Champions.” Mahoney says the lesson for employees and companies is that they can shake off previous losses or setbacks and use every day to start again, making progress toward their goals.



And those pearls of wisdom just may apply to your business if not all businesses. However they might not be able to be done in the same ways as John’s company does it. And might be able to be done without the “loss” of business profits.



Here are some items to consider that may not disturb “business hours” of productive time:


1) Lunch times for recaps or viewing DVR highlights may “catch people up enough” so they can put their minds back to business.

2) Designated “temporary sports announcements” to remove the “angst” of not knowing what is happening.

3) Meet up after work hours to watch the games together, use that time as a teambuilding or training exercise.


It won’t work in every environment. Sometimes the line has to be drawn to preventive productivity losses or profits losses no matter what.

And like in March Madness, each Company knows what is best for them when it comes to what coaching or outside assistance they may need… to not lose!