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Checking fantasy football at work will cost companies $16 billion in 2015, but it's worth it to them because it increases productivity.

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According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), a whopping 66 percent of American and Canadian full-time employees (about 37.5 million people) will draft fantasy teams in 2015.

Those employees (with you surely among them) will spend time at work checking their rosters, doing research, and getting up-to-date fantasy football news. A new study says your habits are costing your company money – but in the long run, that could be a good thing.

New research by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a consulting firm specializing in career coaching and career changes, suggests that time spent checking your fantasy football team will cost companies about $16 billion this season.

How did they arrive at that number? They took the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimated average hourly wage of $24.99, multiplied that by the FSTA’s estimated 37.5 million fantasy football players, then multiplied that by the four weeks of preseason and 13 weeks of regular season football spent checking fantasy leagues.

$24.99 x 37,500,000 x 17 = about $15,931,125,000. But let’s round up to keep this simple.

The $16 billion counts as “lost wages paid to workers managing their teams during business hours,” according to a press release by the company. The study represents “one hour of unproductive work time each week” during the 17-week stretch.

There are variables that are not accounted for in this study, like those who spend more than one hour per week checking fantasy (probably a lot of people) and the time GMs in the playoffs spend for those extra 3-4 weeks.

(SEE ALSO: Fantasy Football: A Few Sleepers and Advice On Drafting A Quarterback)

Despite the fear that the $16 billion total will instill in managers and moneymakers, there’s a caveat to the whole study: the cost of “lost wages” to fantasy football research might actually be a worthwhile expense, because it can actually make employees more productive.

Numerous past studies have concluded that employees who take multiple short breaks throughout the day, whether it’s fantasy football or social media or just going for a walk, are happier and more productive workers in the long run. Humans aren’t programmed to be 100% productive at all hours of the day when they’re at work. You need occasional distractions, however you find them.

According to a 2013 New York Times column by Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project and author of several bestselling productivity books, the human body is programmed to go from “a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue” every 90 minutes. So taking a 30-minute break from work every 90 minutes can help you recharge and refocus for the next hour and a half.

Other studies, like this one highlighted in Forbes, say that managers who play fantasy football with their employees or are otherwise involved in their workers’ personal lives (to a point, of course) have more engaged employees and can boost camaraderie and morale in the office. Fantasy football can work just like any other regular team-building activity.

The $16 billion companies stand to lose from their employees checking their fantasy football teams is certainly a big number, but in the big picture companies should want their workers to take short breaks once in a while. Everyone needs time to reset, and working on fantasy football is becoming one of the most popular ways to do it.

I'm amazed fantasy football has 37.5 million active users. 

Top Reddit comment:

Has anyone else looked at the image used in this article? I see Ryan fucking Mallet going in the second. Also, some jackass took the Jags defense in the FOURTH ROUND. What company office is this? I need a job there immediately.

EDIT: Woodhead with the second overall pick. It must be frustrating for the guy picking 10th considering he's only made three selections while some teams have made 6 or 7 picks already. He probably quit halfway through the draft.

:) :) :)

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