If talk at work has turned from spreadsheets to brackets, and more time is spent checking game scores than email, your work is likely infected by March Madness — and the only cure is winning the office pool.
The annual NCAA Basketball tournament is underway, and many workers across the country celebrate the springtime tourney by filling out brackets and competing for accuracy. In fact, according to a new CareerBuilder survey, one in five (19 percent) workers said they’ve participated in a March Madness office pool in the past, while eleven percent said they plan to this year.
Whether you’re looking for who to talk stats with in the break room or who to avoid, the survey revealed who’s most likely to partake in March Madness. Or if you’re searching for an alternative to basketball, keep reading to learn some of the more creative office pools workers have taken part in. Either way, there are options to pass the time until warmer weather officially arrives to provide its own distractions from work.
When comparing job levels, directors, managers and team leaders were the most likely to report placing a friendly wager at work with 24 percent partaking in March Madness pools. Entry-level and administrative/clerical workers were the least likely at 14 percent.
When comparing compensation levels, 33 percent of workers who earn six figures or more said they’ve participated in office pools around the tournament compared to 18 percent of those who earn less than $100,000 annually. Twenty-five percent of workers who earn $50,000 or more have placed their bets compared to 14 percent of those who earn less than $50,000.
2. Financial services professionals
Workers specializing in number crunching and driving revenue were among those most likely to have joined in bracket challenges at work:
•Financial services – 31 percent
•Sales – 30 percent
•IT – 29 percent
•Professional & business services – 25 percent
•Leisure & hospitality – 22 percent
•Manufacturing – 20 percent
•Health care (with more than 50 employees) – 17 percent
Men have shown a greater likelihood to place a March Madness wager at work. Twenty-six percent of men have participated in March Madness office pools, double the percentage of women (13 percent).
While workers of all ages place bets around the tournament, NCAA office pools are particularly popular among younger workers. Twenty-two percent of workers ages 25-34 have participated in pools at work in the past and 16 percent plan to do so this year, the highest of any age group.
Broken down by region, March Madness bets have been more common in the Northeast and Midwest, where 23 percent and 22 percent of workers, respectively, have taken part in an office pool. They are followed by the South (19 percent) and West (15 percent).
Most unusual office pools
For some offices, the NCAA tournament isn’t the only opportunity to make friendly wagers. Some of the more unusual office pools workers say they’ve participated in include:
•Bet on who could raise the best-looking Chia Pet
•Bet on when a co-worker would be fired
•Bet on how long the boss’s marriage would last
•Bet on how many times the boss would call a female direct report “girl” in one day
•Bet on when a co-worker would change his shirt, which he wore for 11 consecutive days
•Bet on how much time someone would get when convicted of a crime
•Bet on how many electoral votes the presidential candidates would receive
•Bet on how many times the plant manager coughed during a meeting (indicating a lie)
•Bet on the birth date of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s baby
•Bet on how many pages were in a patient’s medical record chart