Are you ready for some football? How about the bite the sport will take out of your bottom line?
More specifically, we’re referring to the pastime associated with the sport: fantasy football.
It’s estimated employers will lose $13.4 billion due to lost productivity over the upcoming 15-week season. That’s according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas (the same folks who calculate the costs of March Madness each year).
That figure assumes the 59% of estimated employees who participate will devote just two hours a week picking their teams, tallying their points, making their trades, etc. And it’s not just your male employees – more and more women are getting involved in the action, too.
So what should your company do about it? Probably nothing.
Beware the backlash
Sure, your IT folks could block all fantasy football sites from work PCs. But experts maintain a move like that is likely to backfire pretty quickly and result in a drop in morale that could do way more damage to productivity than maintenance of some pretend football teams ever could.
And after all, once one distraction finishes, another soon replaces it. Cyber Monday and holiday shopping season aren’t too far off!
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to just sit back and take the hit.
Here are two strategies from Challenger and Gray that can help keep productivity up, no matter what the distraction-du-jour:
- Create some new productivity benchmarks. The start of the year’s final quarter is a perfect time to introduce some new goals that make productivity even more of a priority in Finance.
Whether it’s paycheck exceptions or prompt-pay discounts captured, giving your staffers some new goals to focus on will keep them on track. You might even have staffers come up with some new productivity goals of their own to help secure buy-in for the renewed push.
- Know when enough is enough. Yes, coming down hard on folks for adjusting their fantasy football team rosters on a Thursday afternoon probably isn’t worth it. But if co-workers feel like someone on your team isn’t pulling his or her weight because too much time is devoted to “extracurricular” activities, you could end up with a department-wide morale problem.
Urge all finance supervisors to keep an eye and ear out. If folks seem to be taking a yard when you’ve giving an inch, it’s time to step in and urge them to ease up.