Professor says bosses should embrace NCAA Tournament, employees will watch anyway

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With the start of the NCAA Tournament and games being played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this weekend, a lot of people spent Thursday watching basketball and not working.

“The traditional workday is shot, but why not go out and network and meet a bunch of new people, build new relationships, entertain some of your good clients, meet new clients and have pretty much an all you can eat steak day," Prime 47’s Managing Partner Jeremiah Hamman said. “It should be a national holiday.”

The Carmel restaurant opened its doors early Thursday for its first ever NCAA tournament watch party. The steakhouse had more than 200 people RSVP.

“It’s a great event. It’s a chance to get out and see people. I got to see a lot of friends I worked with over the last 20 years or so,” basketball fan Wayne DeVeyde said. “So it’s been great to be here run into familiar faces. It’s not just the games it’s the comradery of hanging out with people.”

Ball State Marketing Professor Benjamin Wright said that's what all employers should advocate for their employees to do.

“It’s nonsensical for managers to expect their employees to only watch games outside the office. The games are being broadcast across 12 different platforms this year. So even if they restrict things like internet bandwidth and don’t allow TV’s, employees can  follow along on their smartphones and tablets," Wright said. "So instead, embrace this opportunity to create a more cohesive, more embracing culture is way in which managers can really take advantage this tournament.”

Wright explained he believes bosses should be more lenient during the tournament, especially for the first two days, and encourage employees to root on their teams and watch the games.

"It’s a way in which you can see employees, managers and potential customers relax a little bit, not focus on work like they are always doing," he said.

DeVeyde, who used to be a corporate executive, said he agrees with Wright and after experiencing the first day of games at Prime 47's event said he can see the benefits.

"I joked if I had not been retired, I wish I would have thought of this idea of letting the team take the day off and just come and enjoy it together," Deveyde said. "It’s a great team building opportunity as well but it’s something everyone is going to do anyways so why not bring together in a planned event.”