5 Tips to Keep Wagers Friendly at Work

Houston, are you ready?

With Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium less than two weeks away, we’re gearing up for a super week around the city.

Now that we know it’s going to be a Patriots vs. Falcons game, you’ve probably started to hear predictions of everything from how many points each team will score to how often the camera will pan to Tom Brady’s wife Gisele in the stands.

It seems that this kind of conversation is inevitable, so we’ve enlisted Bauer College assistant professor Tony Kong to share 5 tips to keep wagers friendly at work.


Nobody Likes a Bully.

Sure, you love your team. But that doesn’t mean you have to be too negative toward the other side, Kong says. Instead, offer up a compliment or two to the rival team to avoid a “culture of egocentric bias” (otherwise known as relying too much on your own perspective). Even if you think you’re sure about the outcome, remember that teamwork makes the dream work, and you don’t want to create enemies among your coworkers because you’re not willing to understand their POV.


Rule 1: Have Some Rules.

Kong says that establishing social norms (or a standard of behavior that is considered acceptable among a group) is one of the most important aspects of keeping sports talk friendly at work. Maybe a little joking about the other team’s past performance at the watercooler is OK, but talking about it in a meeting isn’t. Understand what’s accepted by your colleagues and stick to it, ensuring a friendly office climate before (and after) the big game.


Keep It Light.

Many organizations likely have policies in place regarding monetary betting among coworkers. Even if yours doesn’t, it’s best to focus on constructing friendly betting agreements with your colleagues, Kong says, like buying the other person lunch or coffee if their team wins.


Create a Collaborative Culture.

We get it. Football can be divisive, especially if your favorite team is on the field. To keep tensions in the office from getting too high next week, Kong says, make a point to ask coworkers for suggestions in other areas, even if you disagree about who should/will win the big game. Focus on the strength that diversity brings to the office and remember that working with people who have different opinions is actually a great thing.


Agree to Disagree.

At the end of the day, everyone in the office should understand that people don’t always like the same things (especially when it comes to football). So before starting a discussion about the big game, Kong says, each person should agree that they are free to disagree with one another in a respectful manner.

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