The tournament is now set. Brackets are being completed.

For fans of March Madness, the days ahead could be filled with nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat, basketball excitement. For those who manage the office and workplace, it’s a good idea to think ahead and consider boundaries for employees.

Virginia Tech’s William Becker, an associate professor in the Department of Management at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, warns managers to be careful about taking too much of a hardline attitude when it comes to the tournament. “I think the danger is pretty minimal. It really only is a big conflict the first Thursday and Friday when games are occurring during the day. I think the biggest danger is taking a draconian approach that sends a message that the organization and its leaders only care about profits and see employees as cogs.

Quoting• “I think being proactive and honest up front is highly advisable. Address the elephant in the room. If certain work or projects have to get done on that first week, make it clear why. Then incentivize it getting done early and well, with an office watch party.”

• “I love the idea of being proactive and organizing a bracket with non-cash prizes and celebrating everyone's school ties. Especially leaders since it makes them more human and connected to employees. I think anything that makes employees identify more with the organization will pay huge dividends in the long run and far outweigh short term losses in productivity.”

Background Becker, whose research interests include work emotion, turnover, organizational neuroscience, and leadership, is based at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region campus in metro Washington, D.C. His latest study, regarding employer expectations about after-hours emails, has been widely reported in the media.

Read William Becker's bioAlso available from Virginia Tech: Picking the perfect bracket can be challenging and frustrating. Annually, the college basketball tournament presents a perplexing exercise in knowledge, skill, mathematical probability and just plain luck.

Professor Rajesh Bagchi calls on his expertise in marketing analytics, consumer behavior, judgment and decision-making to provide insight and advice for those looking for an edge filling out a bracket.

To secure a print or broadcast interview with Dr. Becker or Dr. Bagchi, contact Bill Foy by email at [email protected]; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719.