The Best Workplaces Make Work Fun. Here’s 3 Gamification Apps to Motivate Employees

Adding gaming technology to the workplace can improve productivity and morale

By Amy Vetter Keynote speaker, entrepreneur, CPA @AmyVetterCPA

Want your business to run better? Let your workers play more video games.

Game playing in the corporate world is not a new concept. Silicon Valley long ago began the trend of playful work environments for hard-working employees by providing air hockey, ping-pong, and pool tables to help burn off stress, recharge the brain, and stimulate creative thinking.

But now that game playing is going more and more online, studies have found that playing video games can help people make faster accurate decisions. A 2010 study by cognitive scientists from the University of Rochester that was published in the journal Current Biology found that people who frequently play video games develop an amplified sensitivity to their environment. This helps them speed up their reactions to real-time situations and activities such as driving and multitasking with no adverse effect on their overall accuracy.

Another 2013 study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, which was published in the science journal Nature, found that video game playing enhances memory and multitasking skills, which can help increase productivity.

Does this mean you should give all your workers Xboxes? Not exactly, but you can utilize the gaming elements of video playing, a concept called "gamification," to create a fun and competitive atmosphere that can help your team cultivate and fine-tune key business skills.

With gamification, you use online platforms as  fun and motivational tools where people can participate in friendly contests as individuals or as part of a team. In this way, they can complete specific tasks and get rewards and accolades for reaching specific levels of accomplishments.

Gamification also teaches team-building and leadership skills since people often have to work together to achieve a goal. It can also help motivate workers who struggle with the daily grind of completing routine tasks. Additionally, there is a strong social component to gamification as it brings people together who would not normally interact (especially remote workers) as well as let people who regularly work together have some fun.

There are many online gamification programs that can help your business tap into the benefits of game playing, but here are three that stand out.

1. The Email Game

Responding to emails is a necessary and often stressful part of every workday and The Email Game tries to make this task a fun activity. This online tool works with Gmail and Google Apps and simply challenges people to respond to emails within a set amount of time. 

It rewards them with points and accomplishments when they've responded within a certain amount of time and effectively managed their workflow. It can also help your team become more attentive and productive with performing routine tasks.

2. Team Building Apps

OfficeVibe is an online platform with features that apply gamification techniques to improve employee engagement by breaking up routines and building a more stimulating workplace. Employees are given weekly "missions," such as praising a coworker, going for a workout, or taking a group photo. They receive points in one of five categories upon completion: wellness, productivity, social, environment and generosity. They receive rewards once they reach a certain number of points.

3. Chore Wars

Remember when your mother made chores into a game with rewards? The same principle applies here. The online tool helps teams increase motivation for completing jobs that they may not always enjoy (or are not particularly good at doing). Chore Wars offers various configurations from a one-time contest to get employees re-engaged to ongoing weekly team programs that awards prizes to the top team and individual competitors. 

The best workplaces aren't always about work alone. They also know how to make work fun. By maintaining a fun and supportive environment, you can help your team lower stress, increase productivity, and create a more collaborative environment where people enjoy working together and get to know the human side of each other. Your business isn't a game, but games should be part of your business.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT INC.COM ON: AUG 17, 2018

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