Consider this — you're trying to add the final slides to an important presentation, but you can't seem to finish. Secretly, you want a change of scenery. You either want to pull up a game of solitaire on your laptop, or play Words With Friends on your phone.
You can't though, because you're at work. Your team or manager may not like it. It's simply not acceptable.
You might know the feeling.
Despite cultural notions that playing games at work is counterproductive, it's actually quite the opposite. Games can be a great tool to create a better work environment for a number of reasons. In fact, games can help your team increase productivity and overall employee satisfaction. Keep reading to learn how.
1. Games can bridge the gap between work and leisure.
Many people seem to think of work as entirely distinct from their home life. Home is a place of relaxation, while work might seem like "merely a chore".
Gaming in the workplace allows this gap to be bridged — since gaming is associated with relaxation and the "home" aspect of one's life, incorporating gaming into the work environment makes work feel more fun.
Games are a surefire way of boosting employee satisfaction. They can prevent employees from seeing work as a "negative" facet of their lives, and instead allows for employees to associate work with relaxation and joy.
2. Games are a great way to release stress.
Granted, work can be stressful. Clients, deadlines, challenging coworkers … the list goes on.
Gaming is an excellent way to release any pent up stress one may have surrounding their job (or life in general). In fact, gaming is known to have powerful stress-relief properties, so incorporating gaming into the workplace can provide an avenue for employees' to eliminate daily stress.
And eliminating stress isn't just important for your employees' satisfaction — it's critical for your bottom-line, as well, since happy employees are more productive employees.
3. Games can create an environment of trust.
Today's workforce wants an environment of autonomy, and having a culture where games are acceptable underscores exactly that. Gaming in the workplace signals a relaxed and friendly company culture that allows employees to both work hard, and play hard.
More importantly, it's a sign that companies trust their employees to manage their time and personal productivity.
Gaming also has the added benefit of helping talent acquisition and retention. If someone you want to hire is deciding between your company and someone else's, the unique factor that gaming provides may become the differentiator that causes them to choose and stay with your company.
4. Games support Pomodoro-style productivity.
Short breaks are known to boost cognitive function significantly, as highlighted by the Pomodoro technique, which encourages breaks between learning and working. Working for brief periods with short breaks in-between can lead to a work output of much greater quality and quantity compared to working for long stretches at a time.
In fact, the Pomodoro technique can be used in many facets of life — reading a book, working on a project, learning a subject, or even activities involving physical exertion. These Pomodoro breaks from work can be made more effective if gaming is involved, since the breaks become truly immersive and free of any relation to work.
Merely taking a few minutes off work isn't as effective, since your mind will probably still be on work. However, if you spend those breaks gaming, your break will be truly separate from any work activities. When you get back to work, you'll be able to do so with a fresh mindset.
5. Games can initiate team bonding.
Any good team needs to be cohesive. The relationships that coworkers forge between each other not only lead to friendships, but can also help the workplace achieve better results thanks to teamwork and improved communication. Fortunately, gaming is one of the best ways to foster strong social bonds.
Gaming together provides an opportunity for coworkers to bond together over non-work related activities. This fosters a sense of community and helps the team bond. Getting closer with coworkers allows you to operate as a single unit with less discrepancies, resulting in a much more productive workplace overall.
Regular gaming in the workplace is an excellent way of ensuring that your office is as efficient and effective as it can possibly be, since it ensures your team members have stronger relationships and a sense of camaraderie with one another.
If your company does not embrace any type of gaming, try incorporating it in small ways. Perhaps you can organize a team building event at Escape the Room, or bring a checkers board to the lunch area. You'll find that it improves the workplace in invaluable ways.