The NCAA tournament starts this week and, with it, millions of workers desiring a way to watch the daytime games.  Since most businesses frown on calling out sick with March Madness, many employees have gotten creative in devising schemes for watching the first few rounds of the tournament.

Today we’re going to examine some of the best and worst ways to watch the games when you’re supposed to be working.

Call out sick.  Your boss knows you’re not sick.  This almost never works.  The only way to have a shot at this one is to start planning in advance.  A few coughs and sneezes at work the Friday before, come in Monday looking tired and haggard, sucking on cough drops and clutching tissues and, by Tuesday, be acting so miserable that everyone starts suggesting you just go home.  “Tough it out” on Tuesday, come in like a zombie Wednesday morning, and beg off sick to go home at lunch.  Since everyone will have seen that you’re “sick” over the course of nearly a week, it will be far more believable when you need to take Thursday and Friday off.

The major downside here is that you are relegated to watching the games at home, lest anyone sees you watching the games with buddies at a sports bar while you’re supposed to be recuperating.  (Though should you see your co-workers skipping work to watch basketball, mutual blackmail might be a possibility.)


“Team-building” event.  I actually pulled this off once at an old job.  My co-workers and I were all big ACC fans, and we really didn’t want to miss any of the games.  The boss was new and not much of a basketball fan.

I convinced the new boss that a tournament viewing party would be a great way to bring everyone together and help hi
m get to know the employees.  The way I convinced him was by getting him to think it was his idea.  Again, this is an option that requires a great deal of prior planning.  However, an office party has the benefit of great food (everyone brings potluck), comfortable accomodations (the nice conference room chairs) and superior viewing (the game streamed to the big projector).

Also, if you pull this off, you will be a hero to your co-workers.

Be the boss.  Yet another one that can’t be arranged on short notice (unless you feel like dramatically quitting your job).  However, if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, congratulations!  You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to watch basketball.  Give yourself the afternoon off, and go catch Xavier vs. Ole Miss.  You’ve earned it.

Write a blog article loosely relating the NCAA tournament to business.  You’re not slacking off and watching basketball.  You are doing serious research to help your company socially connect to customers in a real and relevant way through targeted marketing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go “research” whether Notre Dame is still leading Northeastern.