WOODBRIDGE — With NCAA tournament tip off this week, will college basketball fans be able to balance work and play at their jobs?

According to a survey by OfficeTeam, an administrative job-placement company, 59 percent of senior managers say holding festivities at the office have no impact on employee morale. About 32 percent see some advantages to letting staff celebrate March Madness, which is down from 50 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of office workers admitted to being distracted by major sports events. That is up from 20 percent five years ago.

"It's a little bit easier to access all of the sports updates to get the alerts from your favorite team, so it's a little bit easier to get distracted today," said Dora Onyschack, branch manager at OfficeTeam in Woodbridge.

OfficeTeam says there are ways that workplaces can get the March Madness without killing office productivity.

They also recommend that even non-sports fans participate in sanctioned festivities or company bracket pools in order to help build team support and morale.

For avid fans, Onyschack said they shouldn't make a game-time decision.

"If you're planning on calling out because of this event, then you should let your boss know in advance," she said.

Onyschack said that employees need to follow protocols.

"Many companies have policies on breaks, personal internet usage," she said.

Don't run out the clock and take breaks in moderation, she added.

"If you take breaks to check on the score or talk about the games with colleagues, you just need to make sure you're still doing your work responsibilities and not taking advantage of that," Onyschack said.

While workers should follow these recommendations and policies, Onyschack said it is also vital for managers to communicate with their staff about these types of situations.

"What is acceptable? What are the company policies? What are your expectations?"

Finally, they recommend that fans not be offensive and cheer their teams without getting overly competitive.

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