Wednesday, July 30, 2014 · 3:14 p.m.

Will March Madness drive your boss mad?

Surveys show differing commentaries about March Madness impact at businesses

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The UConn Huskies won the 2011 NCAA tournament. As March Madness begins to heat up this year, business professionals are becoming aware of how the tournament might impact productivity at work. (Photo: MGNOnline)

According to a recent survey, most bosses won't go totally mad if employees have a little fun at work with March Madness. 

“As long as they don’t interfere with work, activities tied to sporting events can be great for morale,” OfficeTeam Executive Director Robert Hosking said in a prepared statement. “Watching a game together or holding friendly contests provides opportunities for employees to build team spirit.” 

Fifty-seven percent of managers who responded to an OfficeTeam survey said that group events related to the basketball playoffs are OK in moderation. Eleven percent of managers welcome participation. 

However, 32 percent felt NCAA basketball tournament activities shouldn’t be allowed in the workplace. In addition, 20 percent of employees said they are distracted from work by major sports competitions.  

In a separate 2010 survey, 41 percent of managers felt that college basketball playoffs have a positive effect on employee morale, and 56 percent said these sorts of activities don't impact productivity. 

But, according to another 2010 report from outplace company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the tournament could cost companies billions in lost productivity. 

The most recent report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas pokes fun at how difficult it is to actually estimate the impact of the tournament on productivity. 

“That is not to say there is absolutely no impact," John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a prepared statement. "However, it is felt at the micro level. The company’s Internet speeds may be slower, some workers will not respond to emails as promptly and lunch breaks may extend beyond the usual time limits. It’s mostly a headache-inducing annoyance for information technology departments, human resources and department managers." 

Some area residents agreed that, in moderation, March Madness activities are good for bonding and morale. 

Stuart D. Davis runs several family businesses under the umbrella name Davis Co. His employees do construction for restaurants and other projects in Knoxville, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

He doesn't mind if his employees participate in March Madness activities. 

"We always do an office bracket," he said via Twitter

He doesn't think it cuts into production. It takes time to walk to the coffee machine, he said. 

Davis even rewards the winner of the bracket with time off work.

"[It's] great for bonding," he said. "This is great for morale, especially if you offer time off for winners."

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