There are many factors that impact employee morale that comfortably fit within the realms of the workplace, including pay increase, recognition and professional development. But what, we hear you cry, does immersive gaming have to do with it?
Twenty years ago, the idea of play in the work environment would have been scoffed at. After all, surely any form of escapism is counterproductive? Au contraire, as the workforce demographic shifts immersive gamification is a modern way to educate employees in a way that actually engages them and boost their morale in the process. Pretty good considering the undeniable benefits of increased employee engagement on work performance and productivity.
Wondering how on earth you’re going to persuade the boss to get on the immersive game train? Worry not. Here’s 6 ways immersive gaming can boost employee morale to help you make the case for more playtime at work. Result.
What do we mean by Immersive Gaming?
First off, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when we use the term ‘immersive gaming’. Ultimately, we mean any games that include some level of immersion, which usually includes an element of technology and live experience. Common types of immersive games include:
- Virtual Reality – an interactive experience within a simulated environment
- Augmented Reality Street Games – an active real world game with computer generated elements
- Escape rooms – an indoors strategy game, solve the puzzles and escape the room (think Crystal Maze)
- Active games – a physical experience such as paintball or laserquest
- Role play – a fantasy experience acting out the part of a character
All these games can be incorporated into the work environment or serve as the perfect choice for a team building activity or work party. Now that we have that sorted, let’s look at the ways these types of games can help boost morale.
1. Being on a mission together fosters a shared vision
One of the most challenging objectives for any organisation is developing an atmosphere where everyone strives for the same goal. It’s easy to relay fancy sounding company values across an organisation but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re actually understood. The meaning of these values can get twisted, lead to confusion and eventually lead employees to become detached and despondent. Alas, you then have an unmotivated worker.
Immersive gaming has a more simple objective. Whether it’s getting from point A to B, solving fiendish puzzles or exploding a zombies brain out of its skull – a group of individuals can learn to perform as a team. If they can do that in a game, the skills can translate on the job. Most importantly, despite the ‘games’ management benefits that can ‘boost’ morale, they’re also having fun. Fun, happy employees equal hard-working, focused employees.
2. Solving things together improves communication
Not everyone has the ability to communicate well. A lack of social skills, social anxiety or just being a bit of a dick can all affect the way someone puts a point across. While it’s easy to shrug this off if you’re aware of communication issues with a friend, it can be detrimental within the workplace. When communication breaks down it impacts everyone involved.
Immersive gaming is a great way to help employees with communication in an informal setting. A great exercise for employees whether they are analytically minded, creative thinkers or a natural leader – everyone gets a chance to learn skills from fellow colleagues and get involved. A pay cheque is nice, but 100% of people will get hyper-competitively involved when a prize is at stake, no matter how trivial it may be.
3. Out of work team activities lead to social bonding
It’s no secret that humans are a social species but this has been emphasised by the rise of millennials in the workplace. A generation that are more likely to have friends within the workplace and blur lines between work and social, turns out though this isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, according to research, 50% of employees with best friends at work reported feel a strong connection to their company. Further findings from a Gallup survey revealed that having friends at work increases employees’ motivation and overall happiness at work.
Essentially, social employees stay motivated, deal with stress better and are more likely to be contagiously happy. But not everyone finds making friends easy and while a drink after work is often commonplace, this doesn’t necessarily mean employees will socialise outside of their cliques. This is why an out of work immersive gaming ice breaker could be just the thing to help them do that. You may find that colleagues who seemed to have nothing in common, are new BFFs once they experience something together and work towards a common goal.
4. Distance and perspective reduces stress levels
High pressured jobs can make work exhausting for employees, so it’s not surprising that mental health problems are now the leading cause of sickness absence. In fact, a staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.
For some, the opportunity to get away from work for even a few days can be enough to rejuvenate. Anyone who is working in excess of 50 hour weeks may find even a simple night off more than enough to boost their spirits. Distance and perspective can help relieve any work pressures and some playful distraction can also further reduce stress levels. By stepping back and returning to view a situation with fresh eyes, an employee may think of a way to resolve a problem that they would not have seen previously. They may think more creatively or see something previously missed. Both skills that are important in the workplace. Immersive games with high level puzzles and clue solving like Lady Chastity’s Reserve are particularly good team building exercises for this reason.
5. Immersive worlds nurture creative thinking
No matter the job creative thinking is essential and being intuitive can make the difference between progressing within a company and stagnating. Employees who can empathise with others will also thrive in the workplace and nurturing their imagination is one of the ways to help them do that.
Where employees may have previously been shy about sharing their creative ideas, experiencing a completely off the wall bonkers immersive game, could make all the difference. Boosting their confidence and morale as a consequence. It could be enough to give them a whole new lease of life and revived energy in the workplace, boosting their morale skyward!
Time to level up employee morale and make the next move
There are many benefits to boosting employee morale, including reduced employee turnover and increased productivity. A pretty important focus given that according to recent research “the cost of replacing highly-trained employees and executives can easily exceed double their annual salary.”
So, while after work drinks or a team dinner is a great way to start, an immersive game could be just the thing to really boost your team’s spirits. It’s also a great excuse to introduce more playtime to the working day. After all, to quote our favourite psychopath:
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”