Photographer: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

March Madness Can Make You More Productive

Most workers admit to checking the score, or more, at work. A study suggests managers might want to let it go.

Whether you're sneaking score updates on your phone or brazenly live-streaming the game on your desktop, chances are you'll be keeping up with March Madness at work one way or another. And your boss should be encouraging it, according to a new study that promises to annoy managers everywhere. 

College basketball brackets and office pools make the job more enjoyable, the survey, of 1,200 U.S. adults conducted in late February, found. Three-quarters of those polled said they looked forward to going to work more when participating in an office pool. The survey was conducted by the polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad North America, a human resources company. 

It will perhaps come as no surprise that pool participants are likely to slack off a bit: 76 percent said they check scores during the workday and just over half watch the game.

But keeping up with the Big Dance during working hours won't necessarily make employees less productive or valuable. The increase in happiness is a form of office currency, according to a 2015 experiment, which found that happy employees are, on average, 12 percent more productive than unhappy workers. Another study found an average 31 percent increase in productivity among happy employees. 

Workers participating in office brackets or pools also tend to bond. Half of those polled met up after work to watch March Madness games, and 39 percent reported becoming closer with a colleague as a result of a pool.

Office camaraderie, within limits, is good for the bottom line. Some economists value seeing a friend every day as equivalent in happiness to earning more money, a 2013 report found. 

Besides, employers, what are you gonna do? They'll be stealing glances at scores and "secretly" bringing up and minimizing live-stream windows until the end of the tournament anyway. Might as well get a little bonding out of it. Until they come to blows over a bracket-busting Cinderella story.  

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