It’s that time of year again. The time when college basketball takes over the lives of millions of Americans. As brackets become the talk of the water cooler and buzz around college hoops takes center court, there are several ways to navigate March Madness at the office, even when you aren’t a big basketball fan.
Get schooled: Let’s say hoops aren’t really your thing (to my sports-averse sisters out there, I’m talking to you). The question is, will it hurt you if you don’t show any interest? Unfortunately, yes — it’ll automatically exclude you from conversations with colleagues as well as potential casual conversations with clients. It’s the whole small-talk factor. It’s not any different than staying on top of the season finale of “Empire” even if you don’t watch the show, just to be part of pop culture chit-chat.
Fake it till you make it: March Madness is certainly temporary — you’ll blink, and it’ll be over during the last tip-off for finals on Monday, April 6. Try to skim the headlines so you know who’s playing that day or who just had a major upset. Who knows? You may find it somewhat interesting in the process.
Tune it out: It’s a funny thing about March Madness — you’re either all in or you’re all out. So, if you choose to ignore the tournament altogether as well as your colleagues’ animated discussions and brackets, simply stay professional and remain focused. If you need to start wearing headphones at your desk to block out chatter about the previous night’s big upset, it’s OK to do so.
Focus on camaraderie: Whether you could care less about the big games, or if you’re really into it, March Madness could be the great equalizer. Check that — the great team builder. Why not reserve a conference room so your team can grab a sandwich during lunchtime and watch a game together? If you’re all going to be toggling at your desks between Excel and NCAA March Madness Live anyway, you might as well be hanging together instead of pretending to work.