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It’s that time of year again. With the start of the football season, a good many of your employees are thinking about fantasy football.

It’s also the time of year for productivity experts and human-resources specialists to weigh in on whether people are playing fantasy football at work – which of course they are – whether playing fantasy football detracts from productivity and profitability, and whether fantasy football increases engagement and team cohesion.

Does playing fantasy football reduce productivity and profitability? Not much.

Obviously playing fantasy football takes time away from work, but the reduction of productivity and profitability is probably negligible. According to an analysis done by Challenger, Gray & Christmas in 2014 (“Fantasy Football Could Cost $13B! Should You Care?“), the dollar amount of lost time represents a miniscule amount of wages paid out.

…over the typical 15-week fantasy football schedule… the cost soars to $13.4 billion [to employers for time spent by employees on fantasy football]. Now, what does that actually mean to the economy? Probably nothing. … $13.4 billion … represents less than one percent of the $1.5 trillion in wages that will be paid out to workers on private-sector payrolls during that same 15-week period.

Does playing fantasy football increase engagement and team cohesion? Possibly.

According to a study done by Quantum Workplace, reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal (“Why fantasy football at work is good for business“), employees who play fantasy football report higher levels of engagement, and higher levels of teamwork and trust with coworkers.

However, we all know that self-reporting data doesn’t reliably correspond with objectively measured data. Employees may feel that they’re more engaged and their teamwork improves, but they’re probably confusing their enjoyment of playing fantasy football with their engagement with their work and their team.

Can you stop participation in fantasy football? Of course not.

Even if you block participation in fantasy football on your companies networks, employees can still use their devices on company time. And you know they’re talking about it around the watercooler.

So don’t stress about it. At some point, the season will end, and fantasy football will be over until next year.

Photo credit: © Saboteur, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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