There are some things we just don’t want our boss to find out about. For example, that the email they sent us really grinds our gears. Or, that the “doctor’s appointment” we claimed to have was actually lunch with a friend. Or, that we’ve secretly been job searching on the job.
But when summer comes to a close, there’s one more habit we have to keep hidden: fantasy football.
Yup, according to a study by TSheets this is a real thing in the workplace. In a survey of 200 U.S. workers with fantasy teams, they found that 94% of respondents admit to checking fantasy football while on the clock. Even more surprising is that 48% admit to having taken time off when their fantasy team had a bad week (rough!), and 26% said they’re more productive when their team does well.
No judgement here. But the thing is, if you’re constantly caught red-handed checking your stats, your boss may think you’re shirking your work responsibilities.
On the other hand, we also know that—when done respectfully and professionally—bonding with your teammates on a non-work level is good for morale. And, what better way to connect than with some friendly competition?
The key here is to strike a balance. So, I’ve outlined a few simple suggestions to avoid your boss’ disapproving stare and still express some sportsmanship.
1. Monitor Your Browser
Upcoming client meeting or team presentation? Better close your tabs until you’re no longer sharing your screen. You’re welcome in advance for saving you from that embarrassment.
Like any “quick break” you take at work—checking Facebook or your personal email, for example—you should be aware of what people around you can see, and what that’ll look like to an outside party. (Wow, Jenna’s had fantasy up for a couple hours now… Does this mean she hasn’t taken a look at that slide deck I sent her?)
2. Hold the Banter Until You’re Out of Earshot
In other words, don’t shout, “Hell yes, that’s 12 points for Andy Dalton!” when the office is dead quiet.
If it’s deemed appropriate at your company, try using a private Slack channel to discuss your teams. Or, ya know, just save it for after work.
3. Keep the Upsets to a Minimum
I know, it hurts to lose. I feel your pain.
But, out of context, the tears or rants may not land well with your boss. Save any drastic emotions for happy hour. A beer helps with coping too.
4. Find a Safe Space
According to TSheet’s research, about 50% of those surveyed admitted to hiding in the bathroom to check their team’s status, while 39% admitted to checking it in their car. Other secret fantasy football locations noted include under desks and tables (13%) and in stairwells (19%)—all of which seem like great (albeit, somewhat extreme) spots to avoid a lurking boss.
Of course, you can’t keep “going to the bathroom” every five minutes. So, be smart and set aside a couple break times throughout the day—both so you have something to look forward to between tasks and so your manager doesn’t wonder what’s up.
5. Get Your Boss to Join
Does your manager seem like the type that may like competitive activities? Do they care about bonding with their employees and seeming like a “cool boss”?
They’re the perfect candidate! Get them involved and you’ll never have to worry about closing your browser tabs or screaming into your company sweatshirt to muffle your excitement over winning your latest game again.
We know it’s tough to be productive at work when big things are happening outside the office (like, who traded who and what player got injured again?). And, while nobody can blame you for sneaking away for a quick check of your stats, you do still need to get your work done.
Need more help zoning in on your to-do list? Give this article a read for an extra focus boost.
Photo of person playing office fantasy football courtesy of Yuricazac/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author