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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 09, 2015 • Issue 15:02:01

Inspiration

Gaming work

As I make my morning coffee, I often hear a familiar Ping! ring out. It's my Kindle calling me. More specifically, it's the Scrabble-like Words with Friends game on my Kindle that's calling me, letting me know that one of my game-playing friends is online and has just made a move. I, of course, grab my mug of coffee, sit down and eagerly log on.

Words with Friends is just one of the games I play on my Kindle, and my Kindle games are just a few of the games I play, online and off. You might play some of the same games (indeed, you might be one of the opponents I'm playing right now).

There are so many games and so many ways to play. Electronic and online games, as apps for phones or tablets, have become quite popular. A big reason for this is that they're mobile. You can play anytime, anywhere, on any number of devices – even, game critics argue, when you're supposed to be working.

If media accounts are to be believed, workplace gaming is epidemic, and productivity is way down as a result. In my own experience, this isn't necessarily so. I certainly don't play games when there is work to be done, but sometimes I do play during one of my few brief periods of down time at work. Some work broken up by a little play makes Kate much less of a dull girl. I would even say that, in the long run, it increases my productivity. Sometimes giving my business mind a rest, and giving my play mind free rein, brings work-related insights that would otherwise remain hidden.

In fact, "gaming work" might actually increase productivity and job satisfaction. In some quarters, the verb "gaming" means trying to gain unfair advantage, as in "gaming the system." What I'm suggesting is not unfair, but it may be advantageous for your careers. It's an attitude adjustment that will likely lead to more and better work.

So how do you game work? By giving it the features of the kinds of games you like to play. Friendly competition with others often leads to increased productivity in the workplace, as well as better morale.

That's why some of the more vibrant and cutting-edge corporations, such as Google, place game rooms right in the midst of the workplace, to help build team spirit and cooperation. Competing against just myself can also make me more productive. I set a goal and, if I meet it, I've won the game. I might even set up an informal scoring system, awarding a certain amount of points upon the completion of tasks leading up to my final goal.

Maybe what I'm suggesting is nothing but an elaborate mind game. But if it makes you a more productive, energetic and creative worker, as well as a better team player, where's the harm in it? Give it your best shot, and discover the many ways your work will win when you find time to play. end of article

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