There is a true competitive camaraderie that comes with involvement in a fantasy football league. Competitive camaraderie is also right at home in the workplace.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 60 million people played Fantasy Football last year, making football inescapable for those who don’t care and even more exciting for those who do.
"Fantasy football is a massively popular phenomenon that cannot be ignored. No one can deny that it is a common source of workplace chatter around water coolers and lunch tables throughout the season,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas in a press release.
“Companies that not only allow workers to enjoy fantasy football, but actually encourage it by organizing a company leagues are likely to see significant benefits in morale, which, in turn leads to an overall boost in productivity as well as employee retention,” said Challenger in the release.
Being a part of an office’s fantasy football league and culture presents great social opportunities. With football as the unspoken true American pastime, there is a unifying dynamic to following the game, with Sunday’s gridiron goings-on becoming the stuff of water cooler legend.
Here are some tips:
You Don’t Care About Football And That's OK
That being said, football is outrageously popular. It’s not so much “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” so much as: “why not give it a try?” Don't worry, if it's your first time playing, you will soon REALLY care about football.
The Draft is a Major Social Event
Anytime a fantasy football draft is scheduled, it is the opportunity to gather with the other members of your league and revel in the sprouting of the competitive roses.
If you are in an office environment, this can be accomplished very conveniently after work (or during, which makes it even better). Set up a board in the conference room and get to drafting.
Fantasy Banter is Great Bullpen Conversation
The workday is long and unless you are in an office that operates under complete silence, fantasy football banter can be a great way to pass time. This is when trash talking can fly freely. When you don’t have anything interesting to talk about, you can let the actions of YOUR fantasy team do the talking!
Winning Isn’t Everything, But Everyone Enjoys It
It’s important to maintain your image through your fantasy team. It’s all too easy to get into a losing funk and lose interest, but keeping a respectable record (or even a winning one) provides confidence.
The most important key to success is to actually check your lineups often. Players go in and out of injuries and forgetting their bye week is an easy way to drop a win by leaving the wrong guys in the game and/or on the bench. Chances are there will be someone who drops the ball or doesn’t care but we have an awesome reminder solution. (See below)
Knowledge is Power
Those who succeed in fantasy are seen as gurus to those who are not so successful.
The best-case scenario of this is when an executive asks you for help with his/her team. Their fantasy woes were a great icebreaker and you get some face time with them every week to go over their team. A foot in the door is a foot in the door.
Keep It Competitive, But Keep It Professional
Fantasy is great. It makes The Cleveland Browns interesting and gives you a truly solid excuse to bond with co-workers. That being said, it also holds the danger of being a distraction. Challenger, Gray & Christmas took a whack at guessing how much employers lose in productivity due to fantasy football – their guess – $14 billion. But at the end of the day, fantasy success doesn’t truly equate to abilities in your actual job unless you work for ESPN.
Whatever you do, make sure you stay focused on what you have actually been hired to do and use fantasy as a welcome but moderated distraction.