Football season ended with the Super Bowl on February 3rd, opening season of baseball begins on April 1st.  What, do you ask, does this have to do with employment law?  Get ready for this?

March 19th, March Madness begins.

That’s right, starting this coming week, all NCAA basketball tournament games will be available live online.  Employees will be pre-occupied with this sport, calling out sick to stay home and watch the games, or coming into work but going on line to watch the games, not to mention the “office pool” of who will win the Championship!

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As an employer what do you?  Do you put on the proverbial blinders and ignore it?  Do you totally ignore it or should we simply embrace the basketball madness knowing eventually it will end.  Do you decide to “crackdown” and monitor internet use to try to stop it?  Or simply embrace it?

A good percentage of employers decide to ignore it, pretending that it’s not happening.  Unable to figure out why employee attendance falls off this month or why the employees who actually do show up for work start to disappear into one office or a conference room where they hear cheering and shouting.  Many of these employers are suddenly surprised when the company’s overloaded IT system suddenly shuts down causing employees to exit the work place in droves. Not really a good idea to go with this option.

Then there’s the group of employers who decide to crackdown and try to stop the “madness” by banning any type of interaction amongst employees and basketball.  The thinking here is that if they put filters on their IT systems it will stop employees from watching the games online. This will really have little if any effect on stopping the madness since most employees will have called out sick.  Another not so good idea!

The third option embrace the madness.  Here we have those forward-looking employers to take advantage of the situation and actually incorporate March Madness into the work experience. They set up TVs in key meeting places for games and actually encourage employees to do some bonding while rooting for their favorite teams.  Employees are grateful and good feeling abound, not to mention that the company benefits because these grateful employees put in extra hours.  It’s a win-win situation for both employer and employees.