Whether you can’t wait for the next team bonding night or smile awkwardly at your colleagues and leave early, workplace socializing is widespread. And sometimes it’s based around sports.

Twenty-six per cent of senior managers say their workplaces organize activities around the Unites States’ college basketball championship March Madness and other sporting events, according to a survey by staffing agency OfficeTeam. The main reasons for doing so are to offer staff a break from day-to-day work and to prove the company offers a balance of work and play.

“Popular sporting or entertainment events create an opportunity for companies to build a positive office culture, boost morale and bring employees together,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam, in a release. “Organizing celebrations or friendly competitions can go a long way in preventing staff burnout and enhancing productivity.”

Read: Why you should be forcing colleagues to socialize more

The survey also found 40 per cent of employees will celebrate sports events with colleagues, even if their organization doesn’t formally organize activities.

Most (83 per cent) employee respondents said sporting events don’t affect their productivity at all. But die-hard fans can disturb others: the survey found the most annoying behaviour during sports season is employees who spend too much time talking about the season (23 per cent), closely followed by calling in sick the day after a big game (22 per cent).

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If an employee is overly enthusiastic — showing up in face paint and with a foam finger on game day, let’s say — OfficeTeam suggests encouraging them to review company policies and learning what behaviour is acceptable. If an employee spends too much time gabbing about the game and too little time actually doing work, try to take short breaks to go over highlights but don’t let productivity slide.

And if an employee isn’t plugged into the event at all, invite them to participate in team events nonetheless.

Read: What are the weirdest workplace holiday gifts?

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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