Frederick Allen at Forbes Magazine recently wrote that playing fantasy football in the office can be good for you. According to a new study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, surveys show that people are indeed managing their fantasy teams from work. Any surprise here ? However, what they are hearing from the human resources community is that this is not at all affecting the level of output workers are expected to deliver.
John A. Challenger, chief executive of that outplacement firm conducted a survey of human resources professionals from around the country. About a fifth said they block access to sports and fantasy football websites, but the stunning news is 46.2% said they don’t care if their employees play and manage their teams as long as they maintain their workload.
Challenger gives an explanation for why employers aren’t being tougher:
“The Internet technology that helped fuel the rapid growth of fantasy football participation and makes it possible to manage teams from one’s desk also makes it possible for employees to attend to work duties during their personal time.” Translation: If you’re working at home all weekend, you’ve got to play a little at work during weekdays.
Challenger even goes further than that, adding, “Managers should only crack down on those whose work is clearly suffering from the added distraction,” and “Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football, but actually encourage it by organizing company leagues are likely to see significant benefits in morale as well as productivity.”
Back in the 80's I saw that firsthand. I was with a company that had a dozen employees in a league. The head of the operations actively sought out team members and talking about your teams were a highpoint of the day. The morale was great and no one slacked off. Things were so loose that the three hour draft and one hour secondary draft were held in the conference room after work hours. Hallways and offices used to draw a crowd of coaches building up or tearing down a team.
Trades and good natured ribbing went on during the week. Lineups came in on Friday and this was before the days of massive updates, injury reports, tweets and blogs on who to bench and play along with video highlights.
The big day was Monday morning when the stats would be totaled from the Chronicle. I was one of the first to actually put out a newsletter on the scores and coaches gaffes along with a writeup. There were some others that contributed in the newsletter through the years and what was put out ran circles around the Yahoos and AOL's and schmexperts online today. We did lineups and musings on instincts, not perusing other sites and copying them.
The league was kind of hush hush since there were entry fees with real money involved. Back then we could not publicize it. They probably did not know I was on the radio once on KNBR with Dave Newhouse talking about the league but not mentioning the company by name.
What was unique was the staff felt a togetherness and were helpful in pitching together when problems came up at work. This is what the head honcho wanted. This is a feeling which rarely exists in companies today.
The survey canvassed some 100 HR people. About two thirds of them said they are into fantasy football themselves.
Are you one of them ?