Workplace sports culture

workplaces sports culture

How healthy is your workplace  sports culture?

Okay so England didn’t quite bring it home (Is it safe to talk about that yet? :-))  But very thankfully we’re seeing the return of some normality at least in the world of sport. One of the firsts since the very dawn of the  pandemic. Sport is back with a vengeance in our lives and in many of our homes. What with the Euro’s, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the Olympics, the Grand Prix, the Premiership, the list goes on and on (and on, it’s definitely back!). Sport often forms a big part of peoples lives or their entertainment. A lot of people work more than they do anything else in their life. There are huge links between sport and gambling. So what part can workplace sports culture play  in this and how we can make that healthier?

Not Generalising but…..

Now I’m not normally one to generalise, but in my experience, generally some men (not all of you) can tend to talk about sport a lot. Generally a lot more than women do (I know, generalising again, but very true in my experience!) It’s very commonplace for men to be  chatting with friends and work colleagues about the latest match or the Grand Prix etc. We know that in some workplaces, sports talk forms a good part of the work social structure. Whilst in other similar workplace sports cultures, this can also be accompanied by a less healthy gambling culture.  If you want to read more about that, then the article below this  explores the issue in more depth.

talking sport

Building on that workplace sports culture

There can also be wider sports cultures in workplaces and deeper factors to consider. Some companies offer incentives or team building activities like days out to the dogs or the races, executive boxes at different sports  events, nights out at the casino. Some sectors may have fruit machines in communal rest areas.  There maybe various syndicates going on like work lottery groups or fantasy football league or who’s going to win on Strictly or BGT. There can also be a lot of talk about past and future bets. More typically wins, not may people like talking about their losses (yep, the g word again but it is true!) Now at first glance that all seems fairly harmless maybe standard even, however…..

What our work tells us….

We often hear from the clients we are working with who are struggling with their gambling, that the workplace can be a really difficult environment filled with potential triggers. Sadly gambling addiction can still be seen to be stigmatised, not least by the problematic gambler. Those team building or reward incentives can present a real challenge.  It can be difficult or feel awkward finding reasons to not attend as not a lot of people may know about their issue. If they decide to go because of this, then without good planning or support they could be vulnerable to relapse.

yes no decisions

Similarly, having to opt out of betting syndicates at work can also feel embarrassing or challenging and present the same issues. Yet, this may well be necessary if it is part of or could trigger more out of control gambling. If slot machines  are in communal places  at work and that’s one of your problematic gambling ways, then that’s potentially going to be really tricky to manage. Hearing people talking about gambling or more challenging again their wins, all that can be very difficult.

The slow returning to some sort of norm….

Whilst the world of sport is pretty much back on track, there is much talk about how other workforces will return and the potential for hybrid working. Employee wellbeing and mental health came more into focus at the start of the pandemic and continues to be as we slowly transition to the “new norm”. A much needed emphasis as a lot 0f people will be struggling to adapt and worrying about their future.

Gambling addiction can have a huge impact on the person with the habit and also on those closest to them. The impacts tend to seep into all areas of their life including their mental health and work life. Gambling increased during the multiple lockdowns, despite there not being much live sport initially! Boredom, spare time, stress and ironically having spare cash all playing a part in this.


Don’t worry, I’m not going to do death by stats, but here’s a few that may make you think

  • On average, one problem gambler commits suicide every day, the harm goes wider: for each problem gambler, six other people, a total of two million, are harmed by the breakup of families, crime, loss of employment, loss of homes and, ultimately, loss of life.
  • More than four in five (82%) British adults think that gambling and debt can be a distraction for people in work.
  • Almost three quarters of adults (72%) think business should be concerned about gambling.
  • 15% of online gamblers have been gambling in the workplace in the past four weeks.

What you can do…..

Thinking of one of your colleagues or employees returning or already in the workplace battling with a gambling addiction. How can you make that a healthier place for them?

Here’s our  top 5 tips, to initially help you to do that:

  • Consider your workplace environment/culture
  • Create a workplace policy on gambling
  • Provide awareness training
  • Communicate with employees about responsible gambling and provide information about help and support available
  • Have access to specialist gambling counselling and/or financial counselling to provide for any affected employees.

Want to know more on how to do this or anything else? We love to hear from you! Get in touch on [email protected]

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