How introducing a games room at work benefits everyone
The world’s best companies recognize the benefits of on-the-job fun to optimize employees’ productivity, and there are many benefits that a games room can offer to a company. Are there operating opportunities for you in the corporate arena?
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play is a recipe for burn-out. That’s why many of the world’s best companies are incorporating game rooms into their office design to inspire employees to relax, have fun and enjoy the workplace. These spaces can include video game consoles, arcade games, table games like pool and foosball, and even larger attractions like mini-golf.
“Game rooms are about team building and de-stressing on a daily basis, rather than waiting for a team-building event. Also, companies are interested in providing for game rooms to attract and retain a certain demographic of employees,” says Beverly Horii, managing director at Interior Architects.
Here are 5 benefits of introducing a fun or play zone in the environment:
#1 Boost (employee) energy & productivity
People need breaks. A variety of studies show that sitting at a desk all day causes productivity to suffer. Finding time to have fun and recharge makes it possible to be more efficient and creative on the job.
Research found that “Taking a break involving an undemanding task improves performance on a classic creative task far more than taking a break involving a demanding task, resting, or taking no break.” This fact supports the idea of the workplace including break areas such as a game room or maker areas, which provide an opportunity for an active break from the usual work activities (focus on something else and not think about work).
The most productive staff have balanced work and play with opportunities for active breaks.
#2 Communicate workplace culture & attract new talent
Having a game room is a unique way to communicate a company and workplace culture to the world, and prospective talent: ‘We have fun’, ‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously’. It can even help recruit some great talent. When was the last time you interviewed for a job with a games room in the office?
#3 Build friendly competition into workplace culture
Competition doesn’t have to be serious or even directly related to a business objective. Beyond setting formalized goals, companies can incorporate fun challenges into the workplace culture. Inter-company tournaments can create healthy competition between departments. At the LAI Games Singapore studio, for example, we hold monthly competitions on our games and the winner each month gets a prize.
It’s these kinds of moments that help people break out of their shells and think of themselves as part of the team.
#4 Team-building & Ice-breaking
Plato once said “You Can Discover More About a Person in an Hour of Play than in a Year of Conversation”.
Having a game area is a great way to enhance interpersonal relationships, communication and bonding within a team. There is something about playing a game with someone that transcends the usual boundaries of verbal etiquette and gets straight to the heart of things. It encourages employees to interact beyond work-related issues and facilitates positive communication and vibes among the office staff.
Office games also serve as ways to get to know each other. For someone who is an introvert, a gaming area can help them come out of their shell and develop relationships with colleagues.
A fun work environment encourages collaboration and develops a stronger sense of community among employees.
#5 Creativity & Innovation
Playing games can be great food for thought. More than simply being an escape, it enhances the capacity to innovate, adapt and master changing circumstances. This is incredibly important when it comes to dealing with the unpredictable nature of many jobs. A playful mind is more likely to take any curveballs that a job throws at it and come up with innovative solutions.
“All sorts of creative new connections are made when you’re playing that otherwise would never be made,” says Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play.
Playing engages the creative side of the brain. When fully engaged in a game, people lose some of their psychological barriers and stop censoring or editing their thoughts. This allows creative ideas to flow more freely.
Our new Singapore studio has been designed around fostering community and teamwork, featuring a variety of spaces that encourage productivity in a fun and playful manner. In addition to the game area, there’s also a bar, a large pantry and couches where people can sit and hold an informal meeting or have fun during our weekly Friday happy hour.
With more and more companies recognizing the benefits of adding a fun space to the workplace, the corporate world may offer some nice opportunities for game room installations. Don’t forget to encourage play by your own staff, to generate the creativity and innovation that can drive your company forward.