When I’m working long hours on a pitch or presentation, I always welcome a few mental breaks to keep me focused. For some people, pausing during their workday to play a game is just the diversion they need to help them stay on task.
Games can be a great way to improve your mood, clear your mind and reboot your concentration. The claim is backed by science: Psychology Today notes that “games provide instant gratification and give us small, attainable goals that help create a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction.”
At Shamrock, we’ve had company ping pong tournaments and kickball games. And our team does what they need to do during their respective workdays to best manage their responsibilities—for some, that includes taking mental breaks like a social media scroll or a quick game on their phones.
Here are a few ways playing games can be good for your workplace environment:
Improve productivity. Short breaks are known to boost cognitive function significantly. Consider the Pomodoro technique which encourages breaks between learning and working: This productivity hack calls for working in 25-minute bursts with short breaks in between. Even if the 25-minute rule is not for you, try taking regular (gaming) breaks for a more productive workday.
Increase memory and cognitive skills. At any age, games help build cognitive skills like problem-solving and memory through the activation of the prefrontal cortex and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Reduce stress and anxiety. Playing games can help people unwind. According to the Entertainment Software Association, over 164 million adults in the United States play video games, and 78% of players report that games help relieve their stress. With so much on our plates today, especially the stressors of WFH, stress-relief techniques like gaming can be good for our mental health.
Provide enhanced creativity. Games are great tools for helping people to tap into their creative side (Pictionary, Heads Up, Apples to Apples), in a nonintrusive, organic way.
Boost happiness. Whenever we do something pleasurable, like eating something delicious or enjoying a game with colleagues, our brains release dopamine, known as the “happiness hormone.” There’s no denying the many benefits of happy employees like improving team morale and productivity, building culture, and more.
Initiate team bonding. Games are a great way to help us feel connected to one another in a social way; in the workplace, they can help engage employees, promote team building and encourage team camaraderie.
Promote trust. If management allows employees to self-manage themselves on the job—i.e., taking a break for a quick game in between productivity sessions—that sends a clear message that team members are valued and trusted to manage their work, their way.
While I’m not one to play solitaire during my workday, I do enjoy keeping up with my Fantasy Football teams and strategizing my lineup. Do you play games during the workday? Join the discussion on our Shamrock Facebook page.
Bob De Garmo