Kickoff a Winning Season!

James McDonough blog sizeFootball season is upon us, and with it comes Fantasy Football leagues. No doubt many employees are following their players and doing so on company time. Is this a problem? A recent survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed over $13 billion is lost in employee productivity due to such activity. Yowza! With stats like that, perhaps your organization should go on offense and block employees from such activity on team time? Time out!

Before sending players to the bench, consider the wild card of human behavior. True, following Fantasy Football (or college brackets, celebrity news, social media, etc.) alone does not directly contribute to crossing the goal line. But what if you could use it to build positive workplace relationships, improve morale, and engage teammates? Surveys show these are your best defenses against losing team spirit and retaining MVPs. First down!

Take a tip from the pros in the Challenger survey. Many companies seize this opportunity to strengthen the fabric of their corporate culture by organizing company-wide Fantasy Football leagues. They value an opportunity to connect players (staff) from all positions and celebrate as one team. Consider the value that adds to an entire organization. Touchdown!

Brain science even lends credibility to this practice. Huddle up! As discussed in a previous blog, neuroscience reveals the human brain’s need for a time out from intense workouts to remain energized and attentive. Taking a few minutes to switch focus from a work task to a fun diversion may actually boost productivity by providing a “brain break.” Some scientists believe such diversions promote free association and heightened creativity. Basically, this means “connecting the dots” on the playing field in new and unique ways, sparking innovations that benefit the organization. Extra points!

Abuse of paid time is, of course, out of bounds and you must blow the whistle on such players. Continue to hold everyone accountable for results and coach as necessary. “I didn’t make my numbers because of Fantasy Football season” is not a legitimate excuse. Hit the locker room! Team members recognize expectations and accept limits, so draft a game plan. Be clear that along with all the fun and camaraderie of football season, you expect staffs’ commitment to achieving organizational goals. Regardless of which teams win on the field, you can make football season a win-win for both employees and the organization. Hut!