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Business and technology are inseparable. Most employees use the internet, computers, smartphones, printers, or industry-specific equipment daily to get their jobs done. Maybe you even used technology to build an online resume that helped you land your current job.
But the technology boom of the past century and a half also boosted another industry – entertainment and gaming. From arcades filled first with analog and later digital game machines to handheld video gaming devices, technology helped foster a gaming subculture.
In fact, gaming is very much a part of many technology-oriented business climates. For example, consider the latest headlines on the business and technology blog GoMiso. There, you’ll find the latest gaming news alongside tips for investing in stocks or creating an email marketing campaign.
But what if video gaming seeped into your workplace? How might it benefit employees? How might it affect the company’s bottom line? Consider a few pros and cons of video gaming at work.
Benefits Of Video Gaming
Gaming As A Training Tool
The predecessors of modern video games were originally designed as training tools for the military. And many “games” are still vital to various workplaces. For instance, the U.S. Army uses simulators to train in virtual environments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online gaming was used to help soldiers maintain their readiness while observing social distancing.
NASA, various militaries, and commercial airlines use flight simulators for training – especially in preparing for worst-case scenarios. Digital environments can also be utilized in medicine and engineering. Today, many nurses have trained using a sort of tangible simulation tool – the SimMan and LLEAP software, which allows nurses in training to use real medical equipment on a simulated patient.
Business leaders sometimes struggle to build cohesive teams. They may turn to corporate retreats or teambuilding exercises to cement a bond between workmates. But according to a study by Brigham Young University, 45 minutes of gaming together can increase the productivity of newly formed teams by 20 percent. “To see that big of a jump — especially for the amount of time they played — was a little shocking,” said the study’s co-author Greg Anderson.
Online games can also be a tool for community building between remote workers. This allows them to get to know one another outside of the formalities of the office. Certain games offer opportunities for players to plan together, work together to accomplish a goal, and protect one another from other players in-game. These teamwork skills may very well flow into the workspace as well.
According to a report released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a short stint of video gaming can improve mood, reduce stress, and help control employee burnout and mental exhaustion.
Short breaks have also been shown to help employees get through the afternoon lull. Five to fifteen minutes for an exciting round of Mario Kart or another favorite game can give their brains a brief reprieve from thinking about work. After the break, employees may feel refreshed and energized. This may especially be the case for games like Pokémon Go, which requires physical movement in order to play.
Employers and business owners can use gaming as a valuable tool to incentivize performance and create a desirable corporate culture.
One of the biggest fears associated with gaming at work is that it will become a distraction or that employees will play at improper times – when they should otherwise be working. Incentivizing access to gaming can reduce this risk. Employees will understand that video gaming at work is a privilege, and most will readily adhere to the set standards of when gaming is appropriate.
Mundane tasks can be gamified to keep employees happy. For example, in 2019, Amazon piloted a program “where employees can keep track of their work on small screens… Employees can even compete against each other and win Amazon swag.”
Gaming can also help create a charming company culture that can be utilized in recruiting new employees. Knowing that a company has a game room for breaks or that their team games together 45 minutes a week can be a huge draw for new recruits and a morale booster for current hires.
Some employers may worry that bringing games into the workplace would be a time-wasting distraction. But for decades, simulation games have been used for training. And today, games can be used to enliven mundane tasks, incentivize a workspace, or help employees connect and work together as a team even when some members work remotely.