August 5, 2020

Volume X, Number 218

August 05, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

August 04, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

August 03, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Is Football Season a Waste of Time for Workers or a Wasted Opportunity for Management?

It’s barely a month into the new college and professional football seasons and employers are already concerned about the possibility of lost productivity. While some organizations consider football-related activities and conversations at work detrimental to productivity, others view football season as an opportunity to build a more personal, engaging workplace. Managing fantasy teams and discussing the weekend’s games are all opportunities for organizations to enable their employees to connect and form bonds, enrich relationships and foster trust and deeper engagement.

A study conducted this month by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated that employers lose $6.5 billion per year “due to their employees procrastination and managing their fantasy football rosters.”

But sometimes, viewing intra-office football activities as “losses” is a missed opportunity. Today’s workers are spending more time in the office, and when they’re not at work, they’re taking their jobs home with them. They’re even taking work on vacation, as we discovered in a recent survey on PTO. Smart employers are giving their staffs leeway to pursue some personal interests at the office. Smarter employers are proactively using events such as football season to increase engagement and enhance communications among all of their employees.

There is a fine line between discussing interests and hobbies at the office and maintaining a professional environment. Here are three tips on how managers can create a more engaged work environment, while still remaining work-appropriate during football season:

Host off-site events: These outings allow employees to get to know each other outside of the workplace and connect over a shared interest. Be sure to choose a venue that caters to multiple interests, such as a restaurant where coworkers can chat, eat, and/or watch the game, so employees don’t feel excluded. Fostering strong friendships is a proven indicator of higher retention.

Talk about personal interests/activities: Allow time in meetings for everyone to share something personal, such as what they did over the weekend or an update on their favorite gridiron team’s progress. This is a way for colleagues to feel connected to each other’s lives without being invasive.  

Encourage fun: Don’t discourage employees from spending a few minutes watching a YouTube clip or discussing a recent game. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured to work every second of every day. Knowing that they can let loose and discuss personal interests in the office every now and then can reduce burnout and create a less stressful workplace.

Companies need to train themselves to embrace some of the personal interests of their staff.
Any effort to outlaw such interests, like the use of company computers for fantasy football, is stupid and shortsighted. People will find moments to sneak in football conversations and everyone has a smartphone, so they’ll be using mobile technologies to manage their fantasy teams anyway.

*By, Halley Bock is CEO of Seattle-based Fierce, Inc.,

Risk Management Magazine and Risk Management Monitor. Copyright 2020 Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume II, Number 271


About this Author

Risk Management Magazine is the premier source of analysis, insight and news for corporate risk managers. RM strives to explore existing and emerging techniques and concepts that address the needs of those who are tasked with protecting the physical, financial, human and intellectual assets of their companies. As the business world and the world at large change with increasing speed, RM keeps its readers informed about new challenges and solutions.

Risk Management Magazine is delivered monthly to 17,000 readers. It is published by the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (...