If there's one thing you can safely bet on during this time of March Madness, it's that a number of people in your office will be filling out NCAA Basketball Tournament brackets. According to a recent survey conducted by Vault.com, 71.5 percent of respondents admit to taking part in office betting pools while 82 percent state that their co-workers have participated.
The 2011 Office Betting Survey also shows that office betting is on the rise, increasing since the last time Vault.com conducted a similar survey in 2008, when only 58 percent of workers said they had participated in office betting pools and 77 percent knew of co-workers who did the same.
For the survey, Vault.com asked hundreds of respondents across the United States about their views for or against office betting -- the events they have bet on, the amount of time office betting takes away from the workday, how much it costs to participate, and how much they have won.
You might be wondering if betting is even legal, let alone condoned in most places of employment. Interestingly enough, 47 percent of the people surveyed were unsure about their company's policy on betting. Does it enhance esprit de corps, or is it an illegal activity punishable by firing?
"Office betting can be a harmless practice that gets colleagues to pull their heads out of the daily vortex, and join together for a few minutes of fun," said Vicki Lynn, a career expert at Vault.com. "And many welcome the newbies to the office pool, if only to grow the pot on the birth date of a colleague's baby, who will win the Oscars or 'American Idol,' and which team will emerge victorious in the NCAA tournament. But spending too much time going over picks, researching teams, watching games or discussing the betting pool will raise a red flag with managers and could become problematic. It's best to keep the fun to an acceptable minimum."
That said, most respondents believe office betting pools are harmless, with one employee stating, "For me and others I know, pools such as these serve as a worthwhile diversion from the daily grind and the stress that comes with it," and another adding, "I feel it helps boost morale and helps open communication."
A small, but vocal minority feel otherwise, with one stating, "Almost no work gets done in the office during March," and another adding, "I really don't think [gambling] belongs in the workplace."
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