How Are Companies Using Gaming To Improve The Way We Work? [FUTURE OF WORK]

As we explore the ways companies are using game mechanics to boost employee performance, PSFK asks our readers how games improve their workday.

PSFK Presents The Future Of Work

How can companies enhance employee engagement, boost performance and increase productivity while still keeping workers happy?

Simple: just let them play games while they work.

Gamification sees the integration of the mechanics of game theory – competition, achievement, rewards etc. – into non-gaming tasks such as personal health, education and training, business processes, etc. By imbuing these routine or mundane tasks with engaging game mechanics and incentives, businesses are hoping they can reinvigorate their employees to perform at their highest levels while reducing the high costs associated with employee disengagement.

Aaron Dignan, CEO of digital strategy firm Undercurrent and author of Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success which looks at the psychology of why games are so games are so addictive. When speaking about the potential of gaming in the workplace, Aaron says:

“We’ve got several hundred thousand game designers out there but they’re all designing games for our iPhones and our computers and our Xboxes. And I think that’s a lost opportunity. [Businesses] need to start to compete with the games industry for these kinds of minds and thinkers… start bringing on some of these minds to their HR team, to their training team, to their employee-development team and say, ‘Hey, apply that skill set to our world for a minute and let’s see where the opportunities lie’.”

According to a study by Parks Associates, the number of people playing video games in the U.S. has risen 241% since 2008 with over 3 billion hours per week invested into online games such as Farmville and World of Warcraft.  Given this statistic, it’s not hard to believe game designer and gamification advocate, Jane McGonical, when she estimates that by 2016, 70% of Global 2,000 businesses will have a gamified app.

Below, we’ve included some recent examples of gamification in the workplace that tackle a range of worker-related areas from health and fitness and team building to sustainability and employee management and recognition.

App Turns Project Management Into A Collaborative Game

Company Uses Gamification and Monetary Rewards To Keep Employees Fit

Starbucks Gets Stores To Compete Over Most Efficient Energy Usage

PSFK is asking readers to tell us how games factor into your workday (in the name of productivity, of course).  Drop us a line and tell us what works for you or send us a related link of gamification in the workplace that we might have missed.

Tweet it to us at @psfk with the hashtags #FoW #WorkifyGames, for a chance to win the classic Settlers of Catan Board Game to play with your co-workers during your off hours.

Over the next 4-8 weeks we want to start a conversation around what you see as possible in the Future of Work.  Be sure to follow the conversation on PSFK and participate in the daily competitions. Tweet us your ideas to @psfk using #FoW

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