March Madness is officially here. It's that time of the year when many employers around the country worry about productivity loss. In fact, according to a recent study, it is estimated that by the time of the national championship on April 6, 2015, the total amount of productivity lost among all employers could reach $1.9 billion this year.
The Final Four, HR Policies, Guidelines and Expectations
Counting the first round March 17 and March 18, 68 teams will be competing to be one of the four teams that qualify for the championship round in the annual NCAA basketball tournament.
To honor the Final Four, we have put together a list of four Human Resources policies, guidelines and expectations, and how they may help you and your organization avoid madness and maintain productivity during this year's annual NCAA basketball tournament:
1. Respect in our Workplace
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of Fan is "an enthusiastic devotee (as of sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator." Keeping this definition in mind, it is not unusual for a fan or fans to be overly passionate about their team.
Respect in our Workplace means that your organization prohibits all forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Respect in our Workplace also means that all employees are expected to maintain an attitude of respect for themselves, other employees and patients.
Passionate fans are not excluded even during March Madness.
Tip we suggest avoiding any office pools that include bets such as wearing another team's jersey if your team loses. For example, if Duke loses and North Carolina wins, asking the Duke fan to wear a North Carolina jersey for a day may impact Respect in your Workplace, which may lead to time off for one or more employees.
2. Planned Time-Off
Planned time-off generally includes vacation time and time pre-approved by your office manager or direct supervisor to take time off from your work schedule.
Tip if you are planning taking any time off for March Madness games, or March Madness Rounds (i.e. round of 64, sweet sixteen, elite eight, etc.), we recommend speaking with your human resources manager or direct supervisor in advance to determine if your are eligible for planned-time off, and to ensure your workplace has adequate coverage.
3. Unplanned Time-Off
Unplanned time-off generally includes time off to tend to unscheduled and unexpected health or emergency needs. Examples of unplanned time-off include:
- Your own or a dependent family member's illness
- Death of a relative not covered under bereavement leave
- Health emergencies in your immediate family
- Serious property damage
- Dependent care emergencies
Tip notice we didn't include time off for unscheduled and unexpected March Madness. We recommend avoiding unplanned time-off for NCAA basketball purposes.
4. Breaks and Lunch Period
Generally, all full-time eligible employees are encourages to take a lunch break. Office needs may dictate the duration and time of your lunch break. For most organizations, supervisors and/or managers will provide direction for lunch breaks.
Tip unless it is approved by your supervisor and/or manager, we recommend avoiding extended time-off during your lunch break or other regularly scheduled breaks, for purposes of watching any March Madness games that may occur during your scheduled shift.
While March Madness could cost employers $1.9 billion in productivity this year, on the flipside, March Madness could actually have a positive impact of your workplace with team-building potential, comradery, and maybe a free office pool to avoid any potential gambling.
Finally, we encourage you to fill out a bracket and to cheer for your team, but please do so responsibly.