Based on the employment trends from a 2018 Gallup research study, 53% of the American workforce is “not engaged,” and still another 16.5% is “actively disengaged.”
This lack of connection, satisfaction or motivation can hinder employee performance and even cause burnout in the long-term.
So how can you combat this issue of disengagement and form a culture of enthusiasm, commitment and productivity instead? One useful approach is to offer employees an avenue to moderate their stress, release their energy and unclutter their minds. This can make an exponential difference in the level of meaning or impact they ascribe to their jobs.
80% of workers feel pressure in the office, and 42% reportedly need outlets to manage this tension, indicates the American Institute of Stress. But when the strain of their obligations is harnessed in a constructive and tactile medium, as a result, they tend to be more focused, dynamic, stimulated and efficient.
While it might sound like a contradiction, if employees have the freedom to unplug from their workload at some point in the day, in most cases, this actually enhances their output. One stress reliever that has exhibited particular success in the area of increased performance is—much to the shock of some individuals—online gaming.
Why Online Gaming Is an Effective At-Work Outlet
Research conducted at Kansas State University found that, on average, full-time employees who are allowed short “microbreaks” in the midst of office hours to play games on their smartphones spend just 22 minutes unplugged from work. The study also established this concept of microbreaks can “be a benefit—rather than a disruption—for businesses” since the workers communicate feeling “refreshed” and able to “cope with stressors.”
Moreover, in addition to easing pressure and boosting productivity, these quick bursts of gameplay enhance other valuable skills too—such as creative thinking and problem solving, for instance. To enumerate on this, an article published in BBC adds that “stepping away from a tricky task for a few minutes of gaming might spur a new perspective on a business problem or reset your mind during an especially difficult day.”
The Most Beneficial Online Games for the Office
Sure, a mindless option like Candy Crush will provide a brief moment of escape from that stressful project or looming presentation, but the games with a more sustainable effect on work performance are ones that have a tactical, strategic component in them. This ensures that employees’ brains are still active and absorbed, even while they unplug. Below are some examples of thought-provoking online games suited for a workplace:
- Poker: This online card game is an exercise in various facets of mental acuity, from concentration to negotiation to memorization similar to Solitaire.
In order to be successful at poker, the gamer needs to outmaneuver their opponent by choosing their moves critically and estimating the other player’s moves intently. This requires sharp calculations and smart decisions, both of which force the gamer to remain alert.
- TouchTone: This mobile game is unique in the sense that it combines a puzzle format with a socially conscious undertone. The object of TouchTone is to decrypt encoded messages which could threaten homeland security, and to accomplish this, the gamer must decipher a series of puzzles that reveal information on hacking the code. This reinforces aptitudes such as data analysis and pattern recognition.
- LYNE:This online and mobile game is described as “deceptively simple and infinitely complex” because, while the rules are basic, the puzzle combinations are endless. What makes LYNE an ideal stress reliever is the meditative zen-like platform juxtaposed with difficult puzzle sequences that keep the brain attentive. This promotes both relaxation and mental engagement simultaneously.