4 Min Read
Modern businesses are asking themselves whether employee game rooms are right for their office space. A lot of people might dismiss the idea of employee break rooms as a frivolous perk. Still, in reality, a lounge space can be a critical part of an optimally performing office design while enhancing company culture. Because of their team-building effectiveness, their value as recruitment tools, and serious scientific literature explaining their health benefits, employee game rooms are a staple of the world’s top companies.
Before we get into the benefits of employee game rooms, let’s take a look at some of the top companies that have already figured out that game rooms are great for business. Industry leaders like Google, Dropbox, Airbnb, Adobe, Intuit, Quicken Loans, Boston Consulting Group, and Twitter all have dedicated spaces where their employees can get together in a fun environment to recharge while collaborating across departments.
It’s no coincidence that most of the companies above are also on the list of the Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2019. These industry leaders understand that when competing for the best talent, a business has to offer the best working environment.
Yes, employees who can have fun at work are more committed and have much higher levels of creativity, but companies with office games experience even more benefits. Game rooms can bring employees together who might not usually interact and improve employee morale. This interdepartmental socializing is the key to building a great corporate culture. A recent post on The Benefits Guide talks about the benefits of employee engagement. "Game rooms give your employees a place to escape the daily grind and decompress. Workplaces can be stressful. Between work stress and personal issues, your employees’ morale and productivity may be suffering."
The benefits of shared breaks where employees can interact in a non-work context extend well beyond morale. According to the Harvard Business Review, a team’s energy and engagement outside of formal meetings were the most accurate predictors of productivity. This discovery was made in a series of studies across a very diverse set of industries, including post-op wards in hospitals, innovation teams, customer-facing teams in financial institutions, call center teams, and several others.
The Harvard Business Review found good communication to be the most critical predictor of a team’s success. Specifically, they discovered that communication mattered more than all other factors including personality, individual intelligence, and skill, combined. They found that nothing creates a stronger, more effective team than positive engagement outside of formal meetings. That’s how employee game rooms can help you accomplish more than formal meeting rooms.
From a business perspective, employee game rooms are enormously beneficial, but many people might not realize that they also have serious health benefits. Whether it’s a newly formed team of co-workers or a group that just needs a productivity boost, it seems bringing games into work is the way to go.
Studies by Brigham Young University professors found that newly formed work teams experienced a 20% increase in productivity on tasks after playing video games together for just 45 minutes.
Use the information you’ve already gathered about your employees from wellness program surveys or employee satisfaction surveys to learn what your employees want. Consider what your employees’ biggest sources of workplace stress are and how this room could help alleviate those pain points.
So, the science is clear that arcade machines have serious benefits for your employees’ mental sharpness, attention, and sense of well-being, but those aren’t the only upsides of game rooms. Games like ping pong, foosball, and billiards also get your employees up and moving, which doctors say is critical to their physical health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, any extended sitting, like at a desk or in front of a computer, can be surprisingly harmful. Doctors analyzed 13 studies measuring sitting time and activity levels. They found that employees who sat for longer than eight hours a day without physical activity faced a risk of dying similar to the risks of death observed in patients who were obese or daily smokers.
Although board games and puzzles are used at some companies, they can be a bit more time-consuming than is appropriate. Also, with pen and paper or tabletop games, your employees don’t get the mental benefits of video arcade machines or the physical benefits of interactive games. The most popular options tend to be physically and mentally engaging games that can be played in shorter bursts like arcade games, pool tables, ping pong tables, and foosball tables. These games can all be played in 5 to 15 minutes and match the benefits observed in the scientific literature.
Between their recruitment value, massive impact on team-building and communication, mental health benefits, and physical health preservation, it’s clear that employee game rooms are a necessary part of any company built for the future.
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James Liess leads marketing and communications for Betson Enterprises focused on working with manufacturing partners to grow awareness of products and services. He has more than 15 years of experience working with global brands in the sports and entertainment industry.