Fall is here, and football season has begun. You will likely begin to hear talk about games, from college and NFL, to high school and optimist leagues. One trend that is continuing this year is the popular hobby of fantasy football. According to research by Office Pulse, one in five business professionals plan to participate in a fantasy football league. Whether the league is organized by co-workers or outside of the office, 44% of these workers will spend at least one hour on their fantasy football league during office hours each week.

You might think this is a bunch of wasted time and may even consider disciplining employees for this type of behavior, but we encourage you to take a small step back and consider a different approach.

Employees do personal things often at work, from paying a bill online, to making a doctor’s appointment, to sharing a funny story with colleagues. This is what gives our offices and organizations personality. Offering this little bit of flexibility allows us as leaders and small business owners to distinguish ourselves from the competition by truly embracing the well-versed concept of work-life balance. We know our team members have a life outside of work, and they also have a life inside of work.

Set expectations for how employees should use their time and then allow employees a little bit of freedom. Rather than worrying about whether Joe and Jane are spending too much time talking about their fantasy football league, show that your trust your employees. As with everything, this can be done within reason. If fantasy football really is impacting an employee’s ability to perform their job, it is time to have a frank discussion with them about your expectations.

As small business leaders we need to make sure that we are looking for opportunities to create a positive employee experience. When you allow employees flexibility in their workday, they will be more willing to give your organization the same flexibility when facing a major deadline. The more you embrace these kinds of things in the work place rather than resist them the more likely you are to attract and retain great talent. If you decide to try it this year, let us know how it goes.