The Cost of Clowning Around

The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, estimate that March Madness (the excitement that follows the NCAA basketball tournament) could cost businesses $1.8 billion in lost productivity and unproductive wages. The estimate is based on the approximate number or participants in office pools, the money they earn, and the time that they will likely spend checking updates and "trash talking." $1.8 billion is a lot of money.

So, what to do? How do you regain some of that lost productivity and clamp down on those who are wasting precious time? Maybe you embrace it! When was the last time your team had an intermission? When was the last time they had fun together? We understand that March Madness can get carried away but maybe a little "clowning around" will get that much needed energy back into the building.

Being a former basketball player, I love March Madness. I introduced a "bracket competition" in a company that was full of people that probably had never picked up a basketball, let alone watched a game. It was a great activity that the whole office had fun with. One Friday, we ordered pizza and watched a game during lunch. I have since left the organization but the tradition and excitement still lives on (they just emailed me a bracket and invited me to play).

It might not be "March Madness" that gets your office excited. Pick something else! Because it is critical to allow employees the opportunity to enjoy themselves and have a little entertainment. From the book Juggling Elephants, "People sometimes need to laugh, relax, and not take themselves so seriously." With a little effort, invest that $1.8 billion that you are going to lose anyway and reap a return.