How fantasy football impacts workplace productivity

The NFL season opener is just days away and you know what that means – millions of
Colts Manning Football.JPGAmerican workers will spend company time managing their fantasy football teams.

An estimated 21.3 million workers are hooked on fantasy sports and they spend up to nine hours a week managing their make-believe teams, according to the outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which spends a lot of time studying these kind of issues.

It’s about time somebody took a hard look at this time waster. All that lost work time is bad for the economy. Or is it?

Apparently not. The actual impact is negligible, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

But you know how bosses are. Some of them just don’t understand that deciding which quarterback to start that week is important. For instance, will Peyton Manning recovery from neck surgery in time for the opener?

Bosses who plan to crack down fantasy players, should resist the temptation, Challenger says. An Ipsos survey a few years ago found that fantasy sports was morale-boosting for the workplace and one in five of the workers surveyed said participating in “fantasy sports enabled them to make a valuable business contact.”

“If you look at a company’s third and fourth quarter earnings statements, it is unlikely that you will find a fantasy football effect,” Challenger CEO John A. Challenger said in a news release.

“The impact is more likely to be seen by department managers and team leaders, who have a better sense of their workers’ day-to-day work flow. Even at (that) level, though, it might not be worth cracking down on fantasy football, unless the quantity or quality of an individual’s work drops off significantly,” he added.

Challenger’s blog: Over 21 Million Fantasy Sports Players, Should Employers Worry

Photo: In this Jan. 8, 2011, photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning calls out at the line of scrimmage during an AFC wild card game in the NFL football playoffs against the New York Jets . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)