The action. The ads. The appetizers. Superbowl Sunday is almost here. Instead of avoiding talk of football at your office, embrace it. Sports can bring all different kinds of people together. It’s unifying to cheer for the same team and know you’re rooting for a common goal.

Mark Robinson, a business development and marketing professional with more than 25 years of experience, says that the office that roots together works better together. From organizing watch parties and tailgates to keeping up with the latest roster moves, football is a staple of office conversation and culture this time of year. Some workplaces even live-broadcast big sporting events on office TVs, letting workers stay updated on all the action as it unfolds while still keeping up with their work deliverables.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Robinson’s thoughts on why sports in the workplace is a good thing.

Participation can lead to increased employee engagement. More than a third of U.S. employees say they participate in fantasy sports competitions while they’re at work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sports-related activities in the office can lead to improved employee morale. When the game is on, spirits tend to be higher—as long as the preferred team is in the lead.

Among those who join in fantasy or March Madness competitions at work, 54 percent say it had a positive impact on company culture or engagement. Robinson encourages companies to lean toward including something fun during big sports seasons to keep employees engaged and excited. As an example, you could create some friendly competition between departments. Building this camaraderie can boost productivity among people who work together every day. It can also lighten the mood and courage groupwork and collaboration.

Ensure it doesn’t become a distraction. While a third of employees feel as though they are more productive when participating in fantasy sports, about one-fifth of employees view sports as a distraction in the workplace and prefer not to participate in sports-based competitions. Robinson says it’s best to take a lighthearted approach and work with employees to be sure the fun doesn’t detract from their ability to get work done.

Consider your workplace culture and determine if some sports-focused fun is a good fit. Some formal workplaces don’t look positively on following sports during the workday while more casual offices tend to draw more participants. You could project big games in conference rooms or kitchens and give employees the option to watch and cheer with colleagues. Sports enthusiasts will likely tune in anyway. Nearly half of employees say they have watched games during work hours while their manager thought they were doing other tasks.

With Superbowl weekend here and March Madness just around the corner, look for ways to bring your team together without fouling up the work atmosphere. While the camaraderie with sports competitions in the workplace can help improve team dynamics, be sure to keep your productivity and motivation top-level. Plan ahead to make sure your team members don’t let their sports enthusiasm prevent them from doing their jobs.

Source: Mark Robinson is co-founder of Kimble Applications and has more than 25 years of experience in the IT consulting industry. In addition to founding the company, he also serves as chief marketing officer where is he is responsible for business development, channel management and market analysis.