Ah, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, the crisp air that makes you fasten that top button of your jacket, and the inevitable chatter about last weekend’s football game at the water cooler.  Yes, fall is definitely upon us!  For many work places, fall also means the excitement and (hopefully friendly) banter between colleagues over office fantasy football leagues.  However, when the fun and games of fantasy football becomes not-so-fun, it could potentially wreak havoc on the cohesion and dynamics of your office.  So if your coworkers have started a fantasy football league, keep these tips in mind:

Friendly banter is fine, but don’t be mean.

One of the benefits of office leagues is that friendly competition can help lift spirits and build camaraderie within your professional team.  Along with any competition comes the inevitable jabs and witty comebacks, but make sure you don’t cross the line into being just plain mean.

Leave the drama on the field (or screen).

Competitive sports can sometimes leave tensions running high.  Between wanting your real-life favorite football team to excel, and simultaneously trying to coach your fantasy league to a winning season, Sunday afternoons have the potential to make you feel sour or even downright combative come Monday morning.  Make sure to push that all aside so it does not interfere with your interactions at work.

Work during work.

Obviously.  But in reality, fantasy football “season” can lead to employees spending hours on the clock picking up players and reorganizing rosters instead of finishing that report due at the end of the week.  Between Facebook, news sites, personal emails and cute pictures of kittens, there are plenty of things on the Internet that can derail your productivity for the day.  Don’t let fantasy football be one of them.

Be a gracious winner (or loser).

As with every competition, there has to be winners and losers. If you’re a winner, save your “booyahs” for people other than your coworkers.  If you lost, don’t sulk in your cubicle.  Remember it is just a game!

Fantasy football leagues can be just what an office needs to promote a little team building and festive fall fun, but make sure to follow these tips to maintain a happy and fun work environment for yourself and your teammates!