CHICAGO (CBS) — Millions of workers are busy at their computers–assembling their fantasy football teams.

But one employment consultant sees no reason for employers to be upset, in most cases.

John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas says 21.3 million full-time workers are participating in fantasy sports each year. But he said the average impact on workplace productivity is negligible.

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“Today you can get online during the workday and do personal kinds of activities and still make sure you’re getting your work done,” he said.

In fact, Challenger says allowing 10 to 20 minutes of fantasy team management each day, or organizing in-house leagues, can be a morale booster and increase productivity.


“Rather than look at what they do based on just the hours they put in, look at it based on their productivity and getting their work goals accomplished, the quality of their work and then how they do that is really of less concern,” he said.

A survey Challenger, Gray & Christmas conducted during the 2010 football season found little concern. Ranking the level of distraction on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no noticeable impact, nearly 70 percent said 4 or lower. Less than 8 percent of respondents said the level of distraction rated a 7 or 8 and none felt it deserved a 9 or 10.

Challenger says that is especially true for businesses in which telecommuting is common.

“We think that businesses should embrace fantasy football and other leagues to create camaraderie.” he said.

“It’s so much more difficult today to bring people together. You used to be able to hold an office party but if people are located all over the country or at their homes, how do you do that?”

Most businesses are neutral on activities such as fantasy sports, unless someone “abuses that privilege,” Challenger said.

Challenger has a fantasy baseball team and says he is trying to pull a fantasy football team together.

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