Super Bowl Week: Being a Good Sport in the Office

Jan 27, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — It’s Super Bowl Week, and some fans will bring their exuberance over Sunday’s Patriots-Seahawks game with them into the workplace.

How can sports fans cheer for their favorite team and celebrate the biggest sporting event of the year without running afoul of workplace rules?

Let HR make the call on what’s in and what’s out of bounds.

Hope to make a wager on the game? More office pools are organized for the Super Bowl than any other event, HR professionals estimated. And most employers (81 percent) don’t have policies regulating them, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found in its Use of Office Pools in the Workplace poll. In fact, 64 percent of HR practitioners believe office pools promote team building. But complying with IRS rules is another matter.

Plan to show off your team’s colors? That’s probably OK, too. But follow advice from a SHRM office decorations policy that notes decorating should be done in moderation, in respect of others and in workplace-appropriate décor. And know whether a team jersey meets your workplace’s definition of business casual.

Want to celebrate? Just remember that Monday morning follows the big game. Seventy-two percent of respondents to the SHRM-Kronos Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences survey noticed more unplanned absences on Mondays and around major sporting events. If you plan on playing hooky, know that unplanned absences increase stress, disrupt the work of others and lower morale.

Expect to share Kim Kardashian’s Super Bowl commercial or tempted to replay Katy Perry’s halftime show? reported that technology improvements in the workplace have made the use of video more pervasive and, thus, more widely accepted. But be mindful if your company says it doesn’t have the bandwidth or infrastructure to support more than its day-to-day operations.

Want to weigh in on Deflategate or brag about the outcome? A workplace conduct policy from the SHRM Knowledge Center notes that “employees are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner as judged by a reasonable person” — whether you win or lose.

Media: For more information about sports fans in the office, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at and 703-535-6260 or Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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