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Fantasty Football Season Raises Productivity Concerns Among Employers
9/7/2006
 
ROBIN'S PERSPECTIVE: Strategizing draft picks, shuffling the roster, and posting Monday-morning rants and raves are all part of fantasy football. But employees who get too wrapped up in scoring points on the “field” might be losing points in the office.

According to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 36.8 million people play fantasy football, potentially costing employers $1.1 billion per week in lost work time. The average employee admits to wasting 2.09 hours during an 8-hour workday, and 44.7% of respondents of a 2005 AOL and Salary.com study said that Internet use was their biggest workplace distraction.

Personal email in moderation and reading the news are fairly common activities that many employers tolerate. Fantasy football, on the other hand, involves regular research and community discussion. Considering the millions of employees who play, that can add up to a lot of time-outs over a 17-week NFL season!

Cutting some slack to allow popular employee interests to be shared in the office has its plusses--an office league is a great morale-building way for employers to demonstrate that they care about making the workplace atmosphere enjoyable, while still setting guidelines for how much time and when employees can be organizing their teams.

For all the players out there, consider yourselves warned: Even if the fantasy league is sanctioned by the boss, employees need to know their company’s Internet policy and follow it. Employers are more sensitive than ever to the types of information and entertainment that employees access on company computers while they’re on the clock. Breaking the office policy for fantasy football or any other Internet activity is one penalty that could cost you your job. Monitor the amount of time you spend on the Internet and remember what you are being paid to do each day: most likely, not playing fantasy football.
 
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Robin Bond
 
Robin Bond, Esq.
 
 
Workplace Legal Analyst


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