How Video Games Help Business Teams Work Smarter

It’s no secret that technology, from artificial intelligence and machine learning to immersive virtual and augmented reality, is entering almost every industry in groundbreaking new ways. Video games, while not new to most people, often don’t get the credit they deserve as far as their influence and benefits are concerned.

Video games regularly get a bad reputation for being unproductive uses of free time, not to mention promoting activities that we wouldn’t otherwise do in real life. On the flip side, the proliferation of COVID-enforced remote working and the subsequent rise in immersive gaming platforms has created a hugely profitable market, so clearly it’s not all negative.

Modern research suggests that video games, when played in moderation, can actually help people solve complex problems and build vital teamwork and communication skills that could prove useful in the workplace. So, it begs the question of whether they can be used sparingly within a business environment, for the benefit of staff and the company as a whole.

Many people think that implementing video games directly into business working models will hamper productivity and efficiency, and disrupt operations. However, this article is here to debunk that suggestion and explore some of the key benefits of incorporating video games strategically in a business context. For those in a management position wanting to incorporate gaming healthily into company culture, read on.

Misconceptions About Playing Video Games at Work

Video games have had negative connotations assigned to them for many years, with gaming often being associated as a mere hobby or recreational activity. However, in recent years, we have seen a prolific increase in e-sports and professional gamers (i.e. those pursuing it for a living), so there is reason to believe that it offers more than simply ‘brain breaks’. Video game developers have recently been enjoying profitable years, and the introduction of tax incentives and reliefs like Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) has suggested the economy values gaming highly.

The video games market itself is projected to reach revenues that exceed $363.2 billion by 2027, at which point, it’s believed that nearly 1.5 billion people will be considered video gamers. While a small fraction of these people will likely become professional gamers, it’s important to remember this salient point; this amount of people can hardly all be considered lazy.

Unfortunately, video game myths still proliferate, with misconceptions about the effects of gaming on players still running rampant. Studies have found that there is no direct correlation between playing violent games and committing violent acts, nor is there a link between video gaming and addiction. Moderation is the common denominator here; if users can play moderately, then any extreme outcomes are highly unlikely.

Therefore, if workplaces can embed video gaming as a social perk for staff, then what’s the harm? Furthermore, when you consider the fact that modern gaming systems have made it easier to connect with users across gaming communities, any worries about a lack of meaningful social connections go right out the window.

Contrary to popular belief, video games have resulted in improved planning and problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, and memory retention, among other qualities that could prove useful in the workplace. Some researchers have even suggested that video gaming can increase a player’s creativity, empathy, and understanding.

While we could delve even deeper into debunking video game myths and misconceptions, it’s crucial to address the proverbial elephant in the room. How can companies leverage video games to create a healthy and productive work environment?

Reasons Why Gaming in the Workplace Can Benefit Employees and Management

Building Cognitive Skills Through Puzzle-Solving: Many popular video games essentially comprise a myriad of complex problem-solving activities requiring quick decision-making, navigation, and multitasking.

All video games have a common theme; they all have goals that need to be achieved, with a variety of obstacles and distractions in the way. Employees, if allowed to play games semi-regularly during break times or as a Friday afternoon treat, for example, can demonstrate and refine their problem-solving skills. It’s no wonder why many inspiring tech leaders have credited video games for their career advancement.

By allowing teams to play games that exercise mental skills, managers can evaluate how their teams solve problems both individually and collectively. This, in turn, can empower employees to take ownership of their efforts and effectively tackle real-world business challenges.

Strengthening Collaborative Intelligence: Multiplayer video games encourage cooperative teamwork, coordination and communication between players. These social games help build collaborative intelligence – the ability to work effectively towards common goals within a group.

Games that require strategic, methodical thinking can translate to real-world business problems and solutions. Whether that involves communicating directly among team members, or developing innovative ways to overcome in-game problems, collaboration is strengthened thanks to immersive gaming that involves multiple parties.

Cooperative skills honed through team gaming can have a direct improvement on the quality of collaborative business activities like ideation, workshops, group projects, and many others. Communication is vital for a company in any sector and of any size, so if this is lacking, it’d be worth assessing how employees can improve it through gaming and applying that in a company environment.

Increasing Productivity: Busy working days and weeks often leave employees feeling burned out by the afternoon. When an afternoon ‘slump’ rolls around, a quick, impromptu gaming session can provide all the creative stimulation they need, along with a much-needed break. This style of working – known as the Pomodoro Technique – emphasises this style of working as a productivity enhancer.

Simultaneously, taking time to play a quick video game during lunch or a quiet stretch can relieve stress, improve mood, and make employees feel more in control of their mental exhaustion and creative burnout.

Ultimately, it’s in any company’s best interest to ensure that their employees are feeling physically and mentally capable of performing at their best. If the telltale signs of stress are there, it will have a knock-on effect on their productivity and enthusiasm. Integrating video games as a social activity for them can be just what they need to keep stress at bay.

Harnessing the Benefits of Gaming in the Workplace

Video games can have a multitude of positive effects on players when used in a business context. They may inspire creative ideas on how to complete tasks, while for others, they may simply provide much-needed stress relief during a busy day. However, it’s important to remember their fundamental purpose: to be an immersive escape from reality.

Smart, strategic incorporation of video games in the workplace can help teams become more collaborative, with the more ‘introverted’ workers possibly finding a creative outlet to engage with their colleagues more. Employers may find that employees can handle challenges well, with gaming encouraging new ideas and ways to solve problems.

Moderation remains key in any video game enrolment. Video games are not there as a means to distract or deter employees away from their work, but rather as a vital augmentation tool that helps them feel more motivated, enthused, and productive.


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