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Fantasy Football and Workplace Productivity!

A new  NFL season once again almost upon us.  And with the NFL season start, millions of Americans will begin managing their fantasy football teams, and on company time.

There are about 23 million workers that participate in fantasy sports leagues.  These workers can spend up to nine hours per week managing their team or multiple teams in some cases.

The question that jumps out is should you, as an employer, crack down hard on this apparent time waster?  The answer may seem like an obvious yes, but in actuality, it is not such an easy answer.  Some studies have shown that cracking down on these types of issues can actually hurt morale and cause workers to be less productive.  So you may want t consider allowing your workers to spend a little time managing their fantasy football team during work hours.  Some folks have even found that they have met some important business contacts through a fantasy sports league.  So it can be seen as a fun, social and a networking activity.

That being said, there needs to be some monitoring of activities.  After all you will not want someone to spend 3 hours every day managing their fantasy football teams when they need to handle their work duties.  So, if you see the quality and/or quantity of an individuals work drop significantly after the football season starts, then you need to address the issue right away.  And try not to let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.  So if there is an issue with one individual, try to keep it at the individual level and not let it affect the other who are properly handling the situation.  And you want to handle it properly so you do not find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit.  This is where Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) can help out.

So, what it comes down to is that although folks do spend work time managing their fantasy teams, it may not hinder productivity as much as you may think.  Studies have shown that fourth quarter earnings results have not suffered from the “fantasy football effect”.  So good luck and play on, but stay productive!

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