Fantasy football is here again, and with it, the chance for finance workers to pretend they’re managing their very own NFL team — often at their employers’ expense.
As employees scramble to set line-ups, make trades, check scores and talk trash, some of their more mundane day-to-day tasks can fall through the cracks — and productivity loss ensues.
A recent study by Challenger found that U.S. productivity losses range from $275 million to $435 million per week throughout the course of a fantasy football season. With a 17-week season, those figures really add up.
However, the Challenger study also found that, broken down by individual employees, the numbers vary.
For example, the Sporting Goods Marketing Association, a sporting goods industry group, found that the average fantasy football participant spends around 45 minutes a day managing his or her teams.
But a West Virginia Wesleyan College survey found that 60% of fantasy players spend over an hour each day “just thinking” about their team.
So what are managers to do? Experts suggest that employers avoid blanket policies — such as blocking employee access to sport-related sites.
Employees have myriad ways to be unproductive at work. Forbidding employees from checking up their fantasy team or blocking access to specific Web sites could do more harm than good by hurting morale or loyalty — especially if your firm has been light on raises or bonuses.
Better bet: Look at productivity loss on a case-by-case basis. Example: If a certain finance worker’s productivity drops significantly, it may be a good idea to schedule an informal one-on-one to see what the problem is.