Though fantasy sports can be distracting and usually don’t correspond directly with a company’s purpose, experts say the social pastime is a positive activity in the work place.
Along with boosting camaraderie and rapport among co-workers, it’s a chance for supervisors to engage with their employees on a personal level.
In a recent study conducted by Dale Carnegie Training, a workplace resource company that has offices here in the city, 54% of those polled said they are more engaged in their work when they feel their supervisors care about their personal lives.
“It’s about understanding what your employees care about,” explained Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president of marketing at Dale Carnegie. “Anytime you can find events, exercises, fantasy football games or outings that help employees bond and get to know each other on a personal level, it just spills over into the work-life.”
Palazzolo added that since fantasy sports require teams, they encourage employees to engage with each other in a positive manner and also to think outside the box together. People are more creative when they are relaxed and happy, she said.
“It makes going to work fun,” Palazzolo said. “We spend more time with colleagues than we do with family and friends so wouldn’t it be nice if they’re having fun doing it as well?”
Kathleen Brady, a New York City-based careers coach and author on the subject, said when supervisors care about their employees on a personal level it makes them feel like people, rather than just as cogs in a machine.
“Zero tolerance dehumanizes people,” she said.
The author stressed that if someone takes advantage of the downtime — “There’s always going to be the guy who’s online eight hours a day playing fantasy football” — managers should address them individually, rather than banning the pastime and punishing the whole office.
“Don’t make it an entire company issue,” she said. “Managers have a responsibility for bringing out the best in their workers.”