March Madness is a morale-booster

WASHINGTON — March Madness is a time to sanction play in your company. Studies show playfulness has health and productivity outcomes.

The Benefits of March Madness at Work

Play: We were meant to play. Our DNA tells us it is healthy to play. Research shows play effects every facet of our life. March Madness is a great opportunity to be playful at work.

Laughter: Laughter is a great health benefit to our entire mind and body. Research shows stress can decrease our artery diameter by 35 percent. When we laugh we can increase our artery diameter by 22 percent.

Community: The health benefits of community are incredible. We produce healing hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin when we engage in enjoyable community experiences like March Madness. This is an opportunity to build new bridges between your employees. Employees that did not know each other well get to discover a deeper playful, supportive, relationship by identifying with each other.

Ritual: The powers of rituals in a culture cannot be underestimated. Rituals like March Madness provide an opportunity to connect each of us. Employees that may have disagreements, or just don’t like each other, may find themselves discovering something new about each other they have in common. Rituals connect us to the cycles of life. Rituals like March Madness create memories and bonds.

Productivity: Some studies show March Madness reduces productivity. There are many different opinions and facts on the costs of March Madness. Most managers and leaders now agree that the benefits outweigh the possible economic costs.

Manage the Madness

Build loyalty and commitment: Have fun with March Madness to build corporate loyalty and commitment. Managers say March Madness is a great opportunity to create camaraderie, fun and optimism. Half of managers surveyed in a poll said they believed March Madness boosted employee morale.

Take the middle of the road approach: Show you are part of the experience, not the oppressive overlord. Take the middle of the road.

Encourage your staff to have fun but not to put their work off: Reinforce that each employee is responsible for their usual work not by counting hours but by their productivity.

Televisions in the break rooms: This pulls people off their tech devices and draws them into community and you control the amount of time they are drawn to watch it alone. It is more fun to watch it with the co-workers.

Brackets: Keep brackets posted and updated in the break room.

Team spirit: Allow employees to wear their favorite team’s clothing, ties, shirts, hats, shoes or slacks.

Decorate: Decorate their work space in their teams colors.

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