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More employers are looking to follow in Google’s footsteps and make work more than just, well, work. When employees are happy and look forward to coming into the office, they become more productive. Office pools and bets have their fans and critics, but they’re becoming a hot topic as more employees are winning pooled lotteries. Is this the “ticket” to a better work environment?

Like so much else in life, there are pros and cons to office pool. It’s important that management carefully assesses both sides. If employees are interested in pools, should they be allowed and what should the rules be? Weigh the following three pros and three cons before making any final decisions. Is this a gamble management wants to take?

Pro No. 1: Employee camaraderie

When a group of employees pools bets, they naturally feel more like a team and that can translate into work projects. They’ve made a commitment to one another with their own money, which means they’re in it for real. Money can help bring people together or tear them apart, and working together with cold hard cash at the core is a big deal. This can mean great things for departments and teams.

Pro No. 2: Hope in the workplace

Assuming employees don’t bet more than they can afford to lose, regular pools foster a hopeful and optimistic work environment. People look forward to whatever they’re betting on, and they can celebrate (or empathize) with their colleagues afterwards. Gambling gives people a natural high: the effect is similar to an after-work happy hour. It also doesn’t take up much time, unlike those cocktails, so a lot of hopefulness can get squeezed into a small amount of time.

Pro No. 3: They might actually win

Depending on the gamble, there’s a chance that employees might actually win a bet. Obviously, if this happens, the workers will be ecstatic … and this bodes well for management. When other aspects of a person’s life are going well, he or she will be more productive and happy in work life, too. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Con No. 1: Gambling can be addictive

There are numerous options for those with a gambling issue to get help. It’s impossible for employers to know if someone in the office is an addict, or prone to addictive behavior. This can cause huge problems, especially if the pools aren’t well managed. It’s also an HR issue to ask about addiction, and there’s a lot of red tape to consider.

Con No. 2: It may interfere with work

Most pools are simple and straightforward, and don’t commit much time. However, if a pool isn’t well-managed, it can consume plenty of employees’ time on the clock. They might get too drawn into the betting and lose track of what’s really important. That’s why managers need to be at the helm.

Con No. 3: It’s unprofessional

Is this an office or an OTB lounge? When office betting gets out of control, the place can seem more like a fraternity house than a professional setting. This happens when employees get too wrapped up in the betting and forget what they’re really here for: to work. Again, this is where management needs to step in.

Here are some tips to managing office pools: Start with providing betters with tips, rules, and advice on getting started. Management should be in total control of office bets, helping to keep everyone on the same page and ensuring that it doesn’t expand into work time. Helping someone transition into betting, especially if the person’s a newbie, can set the foundation for a fun, friendly office pool.

SOPs should be in effect to ensure that nothing goes too far off track. Check with HR to make sure office pools aren’t illegal, and make the rules for betting clearly defined. With the right system in place, it can be a fun way to bond and make the office feel more like family.


The author Justin

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