Why Playing Games at Work Could Increase Productivity and Employee Satisfaction

neurotransmitter called dopamine

For a very long time in history, there was a predominant belief that productivity is born from high workplace discipline and zero distraction. The recent rise of global IT empires like Google where the work atmosphere became much more laid back gave us an opportunity to see that the paths to high efficiency and good results are not that singular as we liked to believe.

That brings us the question of throwing the old conventions completely out of the window and allowing the workers to play games at work. Although it is very easy to get the impression this is one step too much, infusing the workplaces with a bit more fun does produce some tangible benefits that prove us wrong.

Let us take a look at a couple of the most obvious mentions.

Games provide excellent stress relief

Yes, your urge to turn on some new shooter whenever you feel stressed is not accidental. All games raging from simple activities like bursting the bubble wrap to more challenging tasks like playing the latest-gen video games provide a strong sense of gratification and stimulate the release of the powerful neurotransmitter called dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers so you get a rush of very positive emotions similar to the runner’s high. The same can be said about the sense of accomplishment when we overcome some stubborn game challenge.

Games stimulate creativity

Creativity is one of the most important contributors to productivity and at the same time one of the traits that are hardest to foster in hasty workplace environments. It is good to know then that games are an excellent way to stimulate your brain and encourage creative thinking and advanced problem-solving. These claims were recently confirmed in the research conducted by Michigan State University in which boys who played video games showcased higher ability in creative tasks like drawing pictures and writing stories.

Game rooms build a sense of trust and satisfaction

This factor works in a more indirect way but, be that as it may, game rooms have a very positive effect on the loyalty and the sense of trust employees have in their company. Imagine walking into an office stacked with consoles, gaming chairs, packs of some gaming energy drink, and people duking it out with their headsets on. This image speaks about the employer who appreciates its workers, takes care of their welfare, and has enough trust to let them spend idle hours like this. The sense of satisfaction you get as a result is priceless.

Games provide an effective team building platform

Employees tend to be very defensive about the team building activities mostly due to the fact they are forced to do people they are not interested in with the people who they don’t know well or even openly dislike. By placing this situation in the domain of video games we are talking at least one of these detriments out of the equation. Games are inherently competitive and they serve as a perfect platform for defusing negative emotions, using them for producing a sense of fun and eventually turning them into a sense of camaraderie.

Games can bridge the gap between hard work and leisure

People who work hard like to take even harder breaks. The problem arises when these breaks devolve into utter leisure that doesn’t provide any sort of stimulating brain activity. As a result, the transition between rest and optimal work performance becomes much more jarring and workers need more time to warm up. As we’ve seen in the previous examples gaming sessions provide a much-needed sense of relief and rest while still keeping your brain fully engaged. Jumping back to work from these sessions is therefore much easier.

Gaming hubs play into the open office concept

Open offices where employees can freely transition from one area to another and socialize with their co-workers have become very popular over the last couple of years. And although the distractions can prove to be too much for some workers, no one can deny that the sense of freedom and opportunities for impromptu brainstorming can be a real game-changer. Well, installing gaming nooks does provide your workers with yet another place where they can socialize and discuss the work without following the rigid workplace norms.

Gaming supports the Pomodoro workplace philosophy

Pomodoro is an old productivity technique that breaks the workload into pieces (‘pomodoros’) that can be accomplished in 25-minute bursts and gives the workers a 5-minute rest between them. Once they write off 5 pomodoros from the schedule they are allowed to enjoy more restorative 15-30 minute breaks. During its long run, this method has provided some very good results. Even more important, its gamified structure is excellent both at creating a competitive game-like atmosphere and leveraging all the benefits we covered above.

We hope these few examples gave you some general idea about the benefits you can get by giving your employees a chance to spend their free time at work gaming. Although we like to think that distractions are poison for productivity if they are utilized properly and encourage creative thinking and problem solving they can be seen as an asset rather than an obstacle. It should be obvious by now that video games don’t belong to the latter group.