Sports Outside the Beltway

Companies Fear March Madness

Fronting today’s WaPo is word that companies are taking measures to stop people from watching March Madness from their workstations.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins today, and for the first time, every game of the 19-day ritual known as March Madness will be available live — and free — over the Internet. The decision makers at Washington’s Corporate Executive Board, for one, saw this as a potential recipe for disaster. With visions of their 1,400 employees glued to their computer screens tuning in to see their favorite teams, the company, which sells management research to firms, has decided to disable access to Web broadcasts of the games. The reason, company officials said, is that this would avoid straining the corporate computer system. It also will keep their workers, well, working.

I can’t say as I blame them.

Still, this is ultimately a management challenge, not a technical one.

Some companies recognize that basketball fans will be interested in the games. They just ask that employees follow the action responsibly. “If my guys who work for me want to get a sandwich and sit at their desk during their lunch break and watch a game, fine,” said Tom Jurkowsky, a spokesman for Bethesda-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. “However, if some guys are watching a game and screaming and shouting or doing it [when they're supposed to be working], it’s up to the manager to take appropriate action. Our policy with respect to this type of thing is common sense.”

Which, I’m led to understand, is not all that common. Still, that strikes me as the right attitude.

Crossposted from OTB

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