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Play Hard: Will Britain Go Game Crazy in the Office?

Play Hard: Will Britain Go Game Crazy in the Office?

An emerging culture of having fun at work and scoring staff by playing games is taking over the UK, turning daily tasks into competitions and physically motivating employees.

ΓÇÿGamificationΓÇÖ in the workplace is the latest import from across the pond, where our American cousins are positively raving about the business benefits.

ΓÇó In 2011, venture funding investment into gamification totalled a stunning $25 million in the US

ΓÇó It has been estimated that 70% of companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list will have at least one ΓÇÿgamifiedΓÇÖ application by 2014

Is gamification just an unnecessary by-product of the attention-deficit 21st century? Or is this a workplace revolution that could potentially save your business?

Gamification is the adaptation of normal workaday tasks into games, complete with scoreboards and leadership tables whereby you pit colleagues against one another in productivity.

ΓÇ£Game mechanics has also been applied to engage people, change behaviours and innovate in many different fields including innovation management, health, training, employee performance, and even social issues,ΓÇ¥ said Brian Burke, Research Analyst at Gartner Inc. in 2011.

ΓÇ£But itΓÇÖs still early days and many people have not yet realised how this trend will affect their organisation and their industry. But I think that is going to change.ΓÇ¥

And as predicted, the game craze is extending beyond normal working tasks and right down to the roots of employee motivation. For instance, many firms are adopting leader boards for how often their employees attend the office gym, hoping to encourage the energetic and cognitive benefits of regular exercise.

All Work and All Play

While to many this culture may seem like a little bit of light-hearted fun to lift spirits in the workplace, in fact many firms are swearing by it as a way to genuinely increase their productivity.

The Washington Post has just declared that companies who took a gamification approach early on in the craze are reporting increased conversions, referrals and user-generated content of 20% or more ΓÇô and some even as high as 500%.

So far, acceptance of this culture has been widely positive, although it is not without its critics.

Dr Ian Bogost of the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-founder of Persuasive Games told the BBC, ΓÇ£I lament the idea that this very simplistic and insubstantial version of games has enjoyed such success… There seems to be a trend that where incentives were once real material incentives, now we have false incentives.ΓÇ¥

Indeed, gamification joins a host of benefits to satisfy the technologically fluent Millennial generation, including firemanΓÇÖs poles, slides instead of stairs, free lunches, iPads and massages. As the trend reaches the white cliffs, we ask: is this the future of the British office?

What do you think? Should gamification be dismissed as a Millennial mistake or is this the way to boost your business in the 21st century?

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