3 Reasons Inexpensive Office Tournament Brackets are a Good Idea

by Kevin on March 18, 2009

It’s that time of year again. March Madness reigns supreme in the lives of office workers every where. Some are getting score updates on their cell phones while others are sneaking a look at the games live on their computer screens. Productivity is expected to decrease across the country.

But is this all necessarily bad for you, your employer, and the economy?

Office Brackets are Great for Morale

Inexpensive NCAA basketball brackets can provide an easy boost for morale. Everyone throws $5 or $10 into the pot and makes their picks. Now each person has a set of teams they are cheering for. You may pick similar to others in your office — now you are cheering for the same teams. John from accounting suddenly starts hanging out with Diane from marketing. Why? They are both hoping Sienna makes it to the Final Four. (Good luck with that!)

Office parties may pop up (or be encouraged to pop up). The whole accounting department goes to John’s place on Friday night to watch some of the later games. Everyone has a great time and for a moment — a brief moment — they forget that the economy is in a bad spot.

Winning Takes Absolutely No Skill

This goes hand in hand with improving morale. This isn’t an intense fantasy football league that requires intimate knowledge of football and the scoring system in place. Literally all you are doing is picking which team is going to win for every contest down the line. You could pick all of the best teams (#1-4) to advance through their games and do pretty well statistically.

You Can Win Money

Technically this is illegal gambling, but everyone knows it happens in millions of office around the country every year. This is where the word inexpensive is really important. Don’t put $50 into something you could care less about and have no knowledge about. You are throwing money away at that point.

But $5? Come on, most of you reading this can afford $5. It’s a cheap price to pay for several weeks of entertainment as you monitor your bracket versus whoever is in the lead in your pool.

And again, without skill you can still end up winning or coming in the top three. Our office does a 70% for first, 20% for second, 10% for third type of payout. So even if you don’t win it all you at least get your money back and then some.

As for all of the managers and bosses out there reading this, my advice is to accept the distraction of the tournament. Instead of forcing your employees to stay productive all of the time I would use the tournament to bring the team closer together. If you are in control of the process — give out an office award for worst bracket such as lunch for two at a local restaurant or something like that. Get involved and show your employees that you aren’t that boss that sits in the corner office and only cares about business.

Anyone else involved in a bracket this year?

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Canadian Personal Finance Blog » Blog Archive » Random Thoughts: March Hoops Madness
March 20, 2009 at 12:04 am


myprettypennies March 18, 2009 at 7:47 am

I’m a huge college basketball fan and am definitely making a bracket this year. However, not for money because there’s a $20 buy-in at my office. I’d certainly do it if it was $5. Good luck! You’ll have to post on how much you end up winning.

Oh, and Go Duke! 😉

Kevin March 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

@myprettypennies: I like Duke, but not to go all of the way… 🙂 I’ve only missed a couple so far.

Corporate Barbarian March 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I agree. They bring everyone together. I’m looking at the results list, and there are 37 people listed. It’s the buzz at the water cooler. At least people are brought together for something positive. Go Louisville!

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