Plano business using March Madness to boost morale

While nearly a third of businesses frown on employees watching March Madness games at work, one Plano company is taking a different approach.

PLANO – Let’s be honest.

Are you planning to watch NCAA basketball at work during March Madness? If your day is booked with the Big Dance, you’re not alone.

There’s even a boss button on the NCAA’s March Madness website. In one click, you can switch from streaming the game to a screenshot of a PowerPoint if your boss walks in.

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But while nearly a third of businesses frown on employees watching the games at work, one Plano company is taking a different approach.

During March Madness, the Tuttle Group, a Fairway Independent Mortgage branch in Plano, is all in.

There is basketball décor galore. Employees can play Nerf ball hoops in the break room, where there’s also a big screen TV to watch the games. And of course, there’s a large bracket on the wall.

Andy Tuttle is using March Madness to boost morale at his business.

All employees are encouraged to take part.

“The energy's great. So actually I view it as an awesome time to get ready for the spring business,” said branch manager Andy Tuttle. “It charges us up and we actually perform better.”

Sporting a Kansas jersey beneath his button-down, it’s hard to imagine a time when Tuttle wasn’t excited about March Madness.

But, like many bosses, he once thought it just got in the way.

“I did see it as a negative, I did see it as just another distraction,” said Tuttle.

He had good reason.

The Big Dance costs companies $4 billion a year in lost productivity, according to WalletHub. But more and more businesses are now turning the tables and embracing it. Tuttle is seeing results.

It is slam dunk, he said, for collaboration and morale.

“Really, it’s more just about serving my people, and loving on them, and that’s a great way to do it. And it has an added benefit of performance,” said Tuttle.

“It makes it a happy place to come to work,” said employee Kristina Krain, “It brings a lot of energy to everybody to want to work together.”

Business author James Whiddon thinks more companies should get in on the fun.

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“If you can create an activity that kind of gets the competitive juices going, that might spill over into the bottom line, believe it or not,” said Whiddon, author of The Old School Advantage.

So while they're rooting for their favorite team, Tuttle hopes it brings his team together.

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