Games and work. If that doesn’t sound like a match to you, it might be time to reconsider. Many people who used to spend their afternoons and evenings playing video games and surfing the net are now busy in the workplace, taking their gadgets and technology with them. Along with the gaming generation has come new attitudes to problem solving and learning, definitely bringing change to the work environment. Things move faster and new innovations and ideas come to light- much like a video or online game- and this has a great impact on everything from product development to sales and marketing.
Playing Games at Work
With the development of smartphones, we’ve seen a mobile gaming revolution where more than 50% of smartphone users play games on their phones. When do they play and where? It is no secret that many choose to use their 5 minute coffee break for some Candy Crush or spins on a progressive slot machine. But how is this affecting the work environment and the production?
Studies have already shown that browsing the web at work can enhance your performance since it has a refreshing effect. A game can have the very same effect and can therefore lead to better results as well as a more upbeat environment. Employers who have understood this will ensure a free gaming policy with guidelines on how and when to enjoy gaming at work.
A New Workplace
An interesting point to note is the difference between what the Pew Internet Project calls Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Those who grew up with video games and the Internet have a different relationship to technology than those who didn’t. Digital Natives see the digital gadgets as the air we breathe while Digital Immigrants refer to them as technology.
Video games have very much shaped how Digital Natives look at learning, challenges and failures, which can be a great asset at work as long as it is understood and taken advantage of. So the actual breaks with entertainment on phones and tablets is less crucial than the attitude and abilities that come with the generation using the technology.
Social media, blog posts and podcast presentations are truly understood by those who have lived with media for over a decade. This certainly shapes the workplace both in terms of marketing and in terms of communications with coworkers and clients.
Faster Work Pace
Something that is quite clear to see is that Generation Z is used to a very fast pace. They know that they can get the answer to a question by the click of a button and then click again to share it with everyone they know.
Workers who can move back and forth quickly between tasks, chat with co-workers about new leads and information and finalize assignments on their screens all at the same time offer the work environment an ability to multitask at an unprecedented fast pace.
Embracing New Ways at Work
This multitasking is not always perceived in a positive light. Some find it rude and even sloppy when the private tasks begin to blend with the professional ones. This can lead to arguments and bitter feelings, which is obviously not very productive. Therefore it is very important to find ways to smoothly integrate new ways of work processes in a manner that everyone can relate to.
New employees will love learning new information and training with podcasts and movies while older employees might still prefer to receive the information in paper form. Allowing tablets and smartphones at meetings for fast research can be an asset, but only when everyone present understands that the person browsing the Internet during a presenter’s speech is not being rude but rather helpful.
If the current trend continues, the future workplace will probably be a place where people use their gadgets and the Internet in a most natural way. New guidelines and rules for personal use of time online will have to be set. Communication with people in the same room might be carried out completely through chat and video, which may also make it easier to create cohesive teams located in different towns and perhaps even in different countries.
Virtual meetings, parties and fast discussions one on one will be commonplace, which rides in tandem with what is trending in the world of gaming right now, namely live games where everything happens in real time and is broadcasted to all possible types of gadgets connected to the Internet.