Witness the surprising power of workplace gamification

September 28, 20183 Minute Read

Did you know that gaming is considered the neurological opposite of depression? Game designer and author Jane McGonigal explained the science behind this to Time, stating that video games give people a “real sense of optimism in our abilities and our opportunities to get better and succeed, and more physical and mental energy to engage with difficult problems.” That’s why workplace gamification sounds like the perfect way to increase workplace productivity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the video game industry has grown up. From mental preparedness to socialization, video games have shown they’re good for us, right down to our neurological responses—in other words, they help teams bond. What’s more, video games prepare people—and machines—for the digital world, enabling us to be more social and more productive.

Help your team build skills in a tech-focused world

Compared to older generations, many younger people have a better handle of technology, which includes important skills required in the modern workplace; and they may not even know it yet. Brian Burke’s study on gamification found many other benefits that translate into the real world as well, such as fostering and encouraging collaborative behaviours. And, as it turns out, millennials were training for a world full of technology from the very first Super Mario Brothers session. They just didn’t quite know it (1-up to that!).

At the same time, games are learning from us, taking data and turning it into actionable AI. Microsoft’s Canadian-based team of researchers created AI that can play a perfect game of Ms. Pac-Man. Their program, called Maluuba, teaches AI how to think like a human, which can be used in the future to make complicated business decisions. You may have never realized it, but all those years spent staring at your gaming screen may actually help you find a job in this digital world.

Know the social benefits of gaming

These days, sitting behind a desk is just not enough to motivate employees at work. This is where social activities in the workplace come into play, boosting morale and even acting as culture-boosting recruitment tools in a hyper-competitive job market.

Friendly competition in video games is good for the workplace. It can build the camaraderie you sometimes miss out on in dull office environments. If it comes in the form of fighting one another for supremacy in games like Super Smash Brothers, so be it. Gaming with a coworker can help people cope with real office problems. By helping individuals understand the strengths and weaknesses of team members, it can create a winning culture inside modern offices.

Bring your office into the future with workplace gamification

Once upon a time, people thought video games were just for kids. What some don’t remember is that video games actually gained popularity with Pong and Pac-Man in bars (non-kid friendly places). Who would’ve thought that button-mashing could be sanctioned by your boss?

Since video games are now considered a form of artistic expression, all media is becoming gamified. Think of shows like Mr. Robot. Viewers are left guessing about the characters and their motivations, creating a more engaging style of content by asking more of the viewer; it’s like unravelling a mystery or solving a puzzle. This type of interaction encourages deeper decision-making and more active problem solving—skills that easily translate into the office.

Video games are fun—but they’re also a worthwhile tool for training, socialization, and workplace productivity in 2017 and beyond. Bring some controllers to the office and watch the magic happen.

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