How Does March Madness Affect Employee Morale, Productivity?


March Madness activities at work are less of a slam dunk for increasing morale and productivity, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam suggests. Fifty-nine percent of senior managers interviewed said festivities tied to the college basketball playoffs have no impact one way or the other on employee morale. About one-third (32 percent) see some advantages to letting staff celebrate their favorite teams, down from 50 percent one year ago. Managers were also less inclined to see productivity benefits.


“Today’s technology makes it easier for people to get game updates from just about anywhere, including the office, but March Madness doesn’t have to be a workplace productivity killer,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “When sporting events are enjoyed in moderation, employees get a chance to bond and take occasional breaks, which helps them stay motivated in the long run.”

OfficeTeam highlights some do’s and don’ts when celebrating March Madness at work:



Make a game-time decision.

Let your boss know in advance if you’d like to take time off to enjoy the tournament so he or she can manage workloads.

Step out of bounds.

Find out company policies on employee breaks, personal Internet use, workplace decorations and sports attire.    

Run out the clock.  

Take quick breaks to check scores or talk about games with colleagues, if allowed, but stay on top of your work responsibilities.

Be offensive.

Cheer on your favorite team without getting overly competitive.  

Sit on the sidelines.

Join in on activities with coworkers to build camaraderie even if you’re not a sports fan.



About the Research

The surveys were developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees in 2015 and 2016, more than 500 U.S. workers 18 years or older and employed in office environments in 2016, and more than 400 U.S. workers 18 years or older and employed in office environments in 2011.

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. Additional information, including online job search services can be found at