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Keeping Your Priorities Straight During March Madness

Different Time Zones & Other Things Which Get In The Way Of Satiating Your Sports Addiction:

People like watching sports. It’s a shame that, for various reasons, these sporting events are sometimes forced to conflict with other, less important activities—like work. With the Olympics in Russia, for example, the time difference made it difficult for Canadians and Americans to keep up with the broadcasts. The events that weren’t taking place in the middle of the night were usually playing out in the early morning, a time when many people are stuck at work. It will be the same with the first few rounds of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. The sheer number of games that have to be squeezed in over the next few weeks will ensure that many matches will take place during daytime hours.

Thankfully, it is now 2014, and technology has ensured that a number of options are available for dealing with this conundrum.

A company called SOASTA, which prides itself on being the leader in cloud and mobile testing, recently conducted a survey meant to try and predict trends regarding the upcoming basketball tournament. The survey was cited in a CNET article written by Chris Matyszczyk that was published on March 15. Apparently, 66 percent of those questioned admitted that they plan to watch March Madness at work via their mobile devices. To get into more detail, 76 percent said that they would be watching during breaks, and 61 percent said they would be watching at lunch—which both seem fairly benign. What was a little more alarming for employers was the 14 percent who claimed they would be watching the games during conference calls, and 12 percent who planned to watch during meetings. Furthermore, three percent of people claimed that they wouldn’t even log off while talking to their boss.

Too Slow on the old Alt-Tab? Don’t worry, there’s an App for that!

For those of us who are willing to watch, but not in front of the boss, technology has also given us the “boss button” or “boss key.” This is a one click shortcut that switches your screen from live action footage to something more professional looking: like a graph or a spreadsheet. Just as its name suggests, the “boss key” was designed to give the user an easy escape plan to deal with an approaching superior.

Viewership Habits That May Surprise You

While watching these events at work may cause a drastic drop in productivity, at least something is getting done. In 2012, The Workforce Institute at Kronos, Inc., did a study that asked employees about their history of calling in sick to work because of a sporting event. This could have included staying home to watch the game, going to the event live, playing a sport themselves or just being too tired to come into work after a night of sports watching. For some reason, the United States ranked near the bottom when it came to employees playing sports-related hooky. Only 11 percent of Americans admitted to doing it, while 58 percent of the surveyed workers in China copped to the deed. The survey also found that India (48%), the United Kingdom (24%), Mexico (21%), Australia (19%) and Canada (13%) all ranked higher than the States.

Some say that, if you can’t beat them, why not join them? The Globe and Mail did a report on February 11 that documented various corporations who encouraged employees to catch up on their Sochi watching at work. Many of these companies were big Olympic sponsors, and felt that supporting the games and our athletes was a good idea for everyone involved. Canadian Tire was one of those companies, and Rob Nicol, vice-president of corporate affairs, was all for it. “An engaged, excited, motivated work force is good for any company,” said Nicol. “The Olympics bring together the entire country, and they bring together our employees, and our employees are rightly proud of our sponsorship of the team.” Most Canadian Tire offices even set up a viewing lounge during the Olympics, where employees could gather to watch CBC’s coverage of the events, and relax in comfortable chairs with cold beverages.

The latter is clearly the most enlightened approach, so feel free to cite it when you’re too slow on the boss button this month, and you get busted catching up on all the NCAA Madness.

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