Playing games at work goes against all the cultural norms instilled in your average office or workplace. If there’s one thing that almost all businesses and organisations could agree on, it’s the idea that playing games is counter-intuitive to a productive workday.
In reality, however, playing games – or, at least the right kinds of games – is the complete opposite. Play-focused activities can be a fantastic tool for productivity, generating a more engaging work environment, keeping employee satisfaction high, and even reinforcing key business skills.
Let’s take a closer look at the impact of different types of games on workplace productivity.
Team Building with Video Games
At the core of a successful business, you’ll find a cohesive and harmonic team. An effective team doesn’t just forge close working relationships between each and every employee, it also fosters a culture of open communication and co-working measures, which, in turn, helps a business achieved noticeable results.
Some businesses spend considerable sums every year on team building activities such as away days and residential training courses, not realising that the same results can be achieved with a simple video game.
Playing video games together fosters very strong social bonds in a team. It quickly identifies the team roles that employees feel most comfortable performing, such as the plant, shaper, implementor, or strategist. By the same token, it can also force them out of their comfort zones by asking them to take on new roles and develop new skills, all in an engaging and engrossing way.
As if that wasn’t a good enough reason to encourage employees to get out their gaming consoles and joypads, playing video games also has a direct impact on team productivity.
A recent study conducted by Brigham Young University discovered that teams who played a collaborative-focused video game for 45 minutes a day increased their productivity levels by as much as 20%.
Be a Better Entrepreneur with Games of Skill and Strategy
Certain video and online games can also bring a whole host of benefits that directly relate to being a better entrepreneur.
A game like World of Warcraft, for example, requires the gamer to consistently demonstrate effective leadership qualities, manage finances and resources, and develop their tactical abilities. Regular play of games of this ilk leaves the gamer with a keen ability to assimilate information, and take the best course of action, despite the pressurised environment.
Even online versions of classic casino and card games can directly improve performance in the workplace. Games like poker and blackjack are games of skill and will enhance strategic thinking since to play them effectively you always need to be a few steps ahead of your opponents.
The more casual online slot games also offer benefits, particularly when it comes to utilising effective bankroll management — a skill that translates directly into the business environment when you have budgets to manage.
Games of skill and strategy also cultivate strong risk management skills. Whether the stakes are raised due to in-game deaths or setbacks, or the fact the real money is riding on the outcome, playing these games requires a high degree of calculated and strategic-risk taking. Once again, this feeds directly into the type of decisions that business owners need to make on a daily basis.
Board Games and their Benefits
As much as modern video and online games can be beneficial in the workplace, traditional board games like Monopoly, Cluedo, and Trivial Pursuit shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Even those games that don’t have obvious business management elements, like Monopoly, can develop a wide range of soft skills that are all necessary for today’s culturally diverse workplaces.
As an example, the charades-inspired picture game, Pictionary, at first glance may not offer up obvious benefits to a workplace or business, but given that to be successful in the game requires a high degree of empathy and observational skills, it’s one that will easily improve participants' EQ levels.
Meanwhile, Cluedo requires deductive-reasoning skills, while Trivial Pursuit highlights the value of diverse knowledge and quick recall.