Today begins one of my most favorite times of the year. March Madness. I love filling out a bracket and following them from start to finish. My eyes light up when someone asks me, “Who’s in your final four?”. I love watching the games and following the underdog of the year (I’m hoping it’s Baylor, but maybe I’m biased). It’s the time when absolutely anything is possible. The upsets are inevitable. March Madness is the best.
While this is the best time for basketball fans, it’s one of the worst for office productivity. Employees across the office so desperate to stay on top of their March madness brackets are streaming the games while their working. After all, staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. report that over 50 million Americans will participate in office pools and lose a collective $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the tournament.
While productivity is one drawback of March Madness, bandwidth suck is another. March Madness can increase network bandwidth demand by as much as 3x over a typical work day. Here are a few tips to make sure your office bandwidth doesn’t come to a screeching halt for your entire office.
Manage expectations. I’m not at all recommending blocking all things March Madness from the office. That would be a major morale killer. Instead, send out an email asking employees to refrain from streaming live games all day on their work computers. It only takes a few live streams to bring your network down to a snail’s pace. Encourage your employees to respect the bandwidth use of the entire office.
Provide a Viewing Area. - Have a break room with a TV? Put a game up on that TV and encourage employees to check on their live games there. People who really want to see the games will find a way to do it, so by providing one area to watch will cut down on the multiple streams.
Make sure you have a QOS Router- If you are using VoIP that depends on your network bandwidth, make sure you have a Quality of Service router in place. A QoS router will make sure that all voice usage will take priority over March Madness streaming.
Provide a Flexible Working Option- If your office has the capabilities to allow employees to work from anywhere, then allow them to work from home a little bit. Unified Communications technology allows employees to stay connected and reachable from anywhere. This way the die-hards can have games on in the background; stay connected and productive, while not using up the office bandwidth.
True March Madness fans will find a way to watch their games live. I strongly encourage you to implement some of these tips for your office. I know I’ll be cheering hard for my Baylor Bears tomorrow! Did you fill out a bracket? Who’s your favorite team ?