Gamification: Improving the Workplace by Having Fun

The workplace is an ever-changing environment. It is constantly evolving based on new technology, new findings, and new ethical pathways. One way the workplace continues evolving is with the new use of gamification. And, no I don’t mean the use of gamma rays inside an office. We are talking about games. Yes, you heard it correctly–normal video games that all teenagers play are being used to enhance the workplace!

Let’s first delve into what gamification is. Gamification is the use of game elements inside non-game settings or platforms. For example, playing games at work. Gamification involves gaming with a different purpose than recreation, somewhere where a game is not typically played. This can mean either to use more traditional games, like scavenger hunts, or use new technology like VR. The nature of playing games in your office may seem unrealistic, but companies have already started doing it. Google has implemented a travel expense game which focuses on the employees who travel a lot. The game helps them keep track of their travel expenses every time they travel, while also having fun. A new study by four BYU information systems professors found newly-formed work teams experienced a 20 percent increase in productivity on subsequent tasks after playing video games together for just 45 minutes. These 45 minutes could be the time offices implement as their gamification time. Another place where gamification is really making a difference is in school education. Gamification in schools and offices have almost the same objective, except in schools, the games are targeted at a younger audience.

Incorporating games into offices is not an easy task. A lot of issues arise, like what if people get too competitive or what if they get distracted? There have to be games which create a balance of recreation and education. The purpose of these games is to basically educate the workers. According to an article by author Dave Nevogt,

One of the biggest problems with gamification is that it incentivizes winning over other objectives… Working in a corporate environment has traditionally been a relationship of exchanging time and effort for money — and this naturally leads to a lack of motivation in the long term, especially for millennials who want to be engaged in meaningful work.

These issues have to be prioritized if gamification in the workplace can be a realistic market.

NASA Goddard Engineer Tom Grubb uses VR/AR

As you probably already know, new consoles and games are always coming out, like the Xbox and PlayStation. However, there is a much deeper future than just the normal consoles. That future is the world of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). VR is already making a strong push into the gaming industry, especially with new headsets like Sony’s and Oculus’. VR is groundbreaking, but AR is where things get especially exciting. AR is a different type of interactive experience than VR. AR takes computerized graphics and places them in the real environment. One of the first games we saw including AR was Pokemon GO, which displayed an image of different Pokemon fighting in the environment through your device. Another example of AR we don’t notice everyday is in football. All the yellow lines and scoreboards on the field are all possible with AR. Now, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with an office. But, these new tech games are the ones that are going to be used in the workplace. New technologies have a tendency of providing people with fun through novelty, especially young adults just getting started in their adult lives. More excitement in a game makes for a more fun experience, which makes for a more productive game and person. The ultimate goal is to help employees work harder by having fun.

As you can see, games can be used for other purposes than just for teenagers playing around. Games give a sense of entertainment and recreation, which helps a person become more engaged. This concept, which has been used for generations, is now just being used with more technology. If gamification in the workplace can be implemented in all offices, every employee can work and have fun!

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