Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fantasy Leagues Powering into Offices Managers, Too, Are Gearing Up for the Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fantasy Leagues Powering into Offices Managers, Too, Are Gearing Up for the Season

Article excerpt

After a seven-month hiatus from the sofa sideline, amateur franchisees are dusting off keyboards and studying Sportscenter in preparation for another season of fantasy football. With talk of drafts, lineups and Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson's hamstring abuzz throughout the nation's offices, managers, too, are gearing up for the season - but not for the reasons one might think.

What was once considered a distraction better suited for weekend discussions at the bar is fast becoming a means of forging connections between managers and employees, according to Terri Dougherty, associate editor of Neenah, Wisc.,-based workplace consulting firm J. J. Keller & Associates.

In a recent article published by the firm, Ms. Dougherty concludes the game's presence in the workplace can be good and bad depending on how managers balance employees' comradery vs. their productivity.

"Everything in moderation," she said. "Fantasy football can definitely be a good thing in the workplace. Work isn't always a lot of fun, so at least this is giving you a few minutes of levity."

Growth of fantasy football - a game where individuals "draft" a team of National Football League players and translate the points and yards they earn during live action into points for each fantasy team - has been anything but moderate. The Chicago-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimated last year that 24.3 million people participated, a figure not expected to diminish anytime soon.

The downside of the largely computer-based trend is that time spent managing a fantasy football team can take a hit on workplace productivity. A study by Chicago employment placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated that workers checking player statistics, organizing trades and watching videos in preparation for fantasy football Sunday cost businesses $430. …

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