Do you spend 10 minutes a day at work managing your fantasy football team?
If so, you could be one of the millions of people costing employers as much as $1.1 billion weekly in lost productivity during the National Football League season.
So says a new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., the Chicago-based employment research firm that tracks corporate office trends. The study takes the estimated number of fantasy football participants — a fast-growing 36.8 million — and multiplies that number by their average earnings every 10 minutes, about $6.
Challenger’s calculation assumes participants spend 10 minutes per day, or almost an hour a week, drafting players, setting rosters and plotting strategy at the office. A more conservative estimate places the weekly lost productivity number at $500 million.
A survey of 1,200 fantasy sports participants by West Virginia Wesleyan College found that two-thirds spent at least five hours per week managing their teams. The survey also found that 60 percent spend more than hour each day thinking about their fantasy team, so from that figure Challenger, Gray CEO John A. Challenger said “it’s not out of the realm of possibility” those folks are spending 10 minutes of office time fantasizing about their fantasy team.
So what’s a boss to do? Nothing, Challenger added in a statement. A 2003 Ipsos poll, sponsored by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, found that 40 percent of respondents said fantasy sports participation was a positive influence in the workplace. Another 40 percent said it boosted camaraderie among employees, and 20 percent said it enabled them to make a valuable business contact.
“Employers should avoid squashing employees’ brief participation in fantasy football during work hours,” Challenger said. “The potential damage to morale and loyalty resulting from a … ban could be far worse than the loss of productivity caused by 10 minutes of online team management. Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football but actually encourage it by organizing a company league are likely to see significant benefits.”
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