Office Pools: Do the Super Bowl and Other Major Events Affect Work?

Feb 1, 2010
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Office Pools: Do the Super Bowl and Other Major Events Affect Work?

Alexandria, Va., – Two-thirds of employers do not have policies regulating office pools, fantasy sports leagues, or gambling in the workplace, according to the “Workplace Policies for Office Pools” poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

One-third of surveyed organizations do have workplace gambling policies, but few disciplined (four percent) or terminated (two percent) employees within the last 12 months for not complying with the policy.

“Few employers have policies on office pools at work, but those that do tend to craft strong policies that prohibit gambling at work and include disciplinary action and termination clauses,” said Deborah Keary, director of human resources at SHRM. “Fewer than 20 percent of HR professionals report seeing an impact on employee attendance after a major televised event like the Super Bowl or Oscar Awards. In fact, many say that office pools have a positive impact on employee morale and teamwork.”

For the 33 percent of employers with workplace office pool policies in place, key components include:

  1. Prohibition of any form of gambling on company premises (83 percent);
  2. Disciplinary action, not including termination, for failure to comply with the policy (72 percent);
  3. Prohibition of gambling that includes monetary exchange (70 percent);
  4. Employment termination for failure to comply with policy (67 percent); and
  5. Definition of unacceptable forms of gambling on company premises (63 percent).

Other key poll findings are below:

  • According to HR professionals, the events employees most organize office pools for are the Super Bowl (65 percent), the NCAA college basketball tournament (57 percent), and the lottery jackpot (31 percent). Only two percent organized office pools for the Oscars.
  • Although many HR professionals report office pools have a positive impact on employee morale (55 percent) and teamwork (42 percent), 37 percent noted a negative impact on work productivity.
  • Eight percent of HR professionals report an increase in employees calling in sick the day following a major televised event and 11 percent saw an increase in employees coming in late. Men were more likely than women to call in sick or arrive late to the office.

Reporters may read the complete SHRM poll, and other surveys, at: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Pages/default.aspx.

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About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org.

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