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Fantasy football: Out of bounds at work?

Sales reports turn into injury reports, and setting up meetings turns into setting rosters, as fantasy football begins its yearly workplace interruption.

Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, lost productivity due to fantasy football amounts to an estimated $14 billion. That number is exponentially higher than the wasted wages reported for March Madness college basketball and World Cup soccer.

The distraction doesn’t only come through the computer anymore; waiver wires and projected stats are readily available on anyone’s smartphone these days.

“People are listening to podcasts, they’re doing research online for picks and trades of potential players, and they’re also talking smack on the message boards to their colleagues and friends,” said the firm’s Andy Challenger.

An estimated 18.3 million workers in America participate in fantasy football, according to numbers from CGC and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Challenger said employers shouldn’t be alarmed by these projections, however. If workers aren’t distracted by fantasy sports, they’d be shopping on Amazon or browsing Facebook.

“We live in a workplace that is more distracted than ever,” he said.

An across-the-board ban on fantasy sports at the workplace, he said, would do more harm than good. A league conducted within a company itself can be quite beneficial for morale.

“Any chance a company has to have their employees talk about something other than the daily business item, it’s a win for their culture, it’s a win for the company,” said Challenger.

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