e laugh about employee engagement and productivity on the day after the Super Bowl; we joke about productivity on Black Friday; welcome today to a similar situation—when March Madness begins and drinking is abound. Should we celebrate the combination of the two dates, with the ever-optimistic view that now we have only one non-productive day as opposed to two? Either way, today serves as a good opportunity for a refresher on dealing with alcohol and gambling in the workplace.

Last year we posted a lengthy discussion on the legality of your office NCAA Pool. This year, we focus on productivity. A couple of things to keep in mind during this time of year:

  1. Does your computer usage policy speak to streaming-videos and non-work related websites? If not, it probably should, as I’m guessing at this moment you have more than one employee on ESPN.com keeping him or herself apprised of the current NCAA landscape.
  2. Does your computer-use policy permit the company to review what sites are visited in real time by employees? And if so, does your IT department exercise the authority non-discriminately?
  3. Do you currently have and enforce a non-solicitation policy? If not, is this for cultural reasons or for others?
  4. Do you currently have and enforce a non-gambling policy? Again, if not, is this for cultural reasons or for others?

Keep the above thoughts in mind when determining how your company is going to deal with March Madness this season.

Moving on to March Madness’s timing colliding with St. Patrick’s Day, I currently write this post while staring at a gaggle of people clad in green who are drinking on the porch of a local watering hole. I am writing this post well before noon, however the alcohol appears (and sounds as though) it is generously flowing. While today marks a religious holiday in which one feasts the patron saint of Ireland, the holiday simultaneously conjures thoughts of Guinness and green beer.

On a Saturday or in the evening, the enjoyment of Guinness or green beer may not prove problematic for your company, however a lunch-time beer may have a different consequence. We don’t currently find ourselves in a Mad Men-esque. world. While Don Draper’s mid-day, morning, afternoon, or evening drinks while working may have culturally been the norm, alcohol in the workplace is not currently the norm. Most companies limit the ingestion of alcohol at work to company-sponsored events and/or forbid ingestion during working hours completely. If, however, your workplace does have a drinking culture, make sure you have in effect various policies and procedures that can provide appropriate protections.