Thursday, June 19, 2008

Video games at work increase employee productivity

Video games are making their way out of living rooms and into the office, but don’t be nervous. New evidence suggests gaming at work may benefit the workplace by decreasing worker stress and increasing productivity.

Rather than forbidding gaming, some U.S. companies are embracing gaming by replacing traditional coffee-fueled break rooms with areas specifically created for employees to play video games, according to a recent article from Entrepreneur.com. Companies that have created such rooms have seen a boost in employee morale and productivity, and gaming in the office has also helped attract younger employees.

“According to a recent survey by WorldWinner, a subsidiary of FUN Technologies Inc., more than 80 percent of online gamers who play on and off throughout the workday said they are able to better focus on work after playing. A reported 72 percent actually rely on game breaks to help them deal with job-related stress.”

Of the companies interviewed for the Entrepreneur.com article, none have had to set up rules or regulations for the game rooms. Some employees who have trouble regulating themselves may take advantage of the environment, but the companies agree that the positive results far outweigh any negatives.

While many companies have not embraced gaming as a positive way to reduce stress at work, it turns out employees will play anyway. Whether it’s on their phone or company computer, almost one in four workers game on the job.

Its estimated that as many as 80 million “white collar” workers in the U.S. play casual games, according to a survey by PopCap, the leading developer and publisher of casual games. Of those white collar workers surveyed, almost a quarter (24%) said they play at work along with 35% of CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives.

“It's natural that some business executives would also look to casual video games that they can play on their PC, mobile phone or BlackBerry during a work break, as a way to quickly relax and recharge their batteries,” said Carla Drum, a recognized expert on workplace issues, in a PopCap press release.

Those who play casual games at work acknowledged the following effects after taking a short game break at work:

  • 84% said they felt "more relaxed and less stressed out."
  • 52% said they felt more confident, more energetic, more productive and/or more mentally focused.

When asked to choose the single most important reason for playing casual games, 72% chose a reason related to improving their mental state.

Whether it’s taking a short break to chat on the phone or grab a cup of coffee, we all need to unwind every once in a while to refresh and regroup. Loading up a quick game may have the same effect, and without all the caffeine-jitters.

3 comments:

Totally Consumed said...

It would be interesting to see an objective behavioral study that measures the true performance of work-time gamers.

I'm skeptical of any self-reported "poll", sponsored by the gaming industry (PopCap Games), that speaks so glowingly about their own products.

Totally Consumed said...

It would be interesting to see an objective behavioral study that measures the true performance of work-time gamers.

I'm skeptical of any self-reported "poll", sponsored by the gaming industry (PopCap Games), that speaks so glowingly about their own products.

ExerLearning - FootGaming said...

Stress at work is one thing - but how people react to that stress is quite another. Do employees take a smoking break, a candy bar break, a soda and chips break? Compared to the addictive qualities of such habits, casual game breaks may be a great option. We have tied casual game play to physical activity via a dance mat peripheral that can be used like a mouse - look at http://footgaming.blogspot.com for the full story. Employees can mix some productive pohysical activity with the casual game play and return to work refreshed physically and mentally in about 10minutes.


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