Do you ever get stressed at work? Or have you ever dreamed of getting paid to play video games? Many people would answer yes to both questions, and now some companies play multiplayer video games at work to bond with each other and to reduce stress — and they get paid for it!
Kevin Grinnell at Grinnell Computers has started such a plan, and it’s a hit. He considers it a team-building exercise, saying:
“We laugh until we cry when we play these games. We can do the thing where we have company dinners, and company functions, but those really aren’t stress relief. At times, they can be more stress than they’re worth.”
That last part is certainly true sometimes. I’ve been to work dinners and outings where you had to pay your way (and didn’t really want to go), or where some coworkers will get drunk and act stupid, or where the company tries to manufacture fun and it doesn’t work and you’d rather be at work than at the “fun” outing.
Not only is that a great way to release stress, but it also causes people to let their guard down, to be themselves. For Grinnell, the gaming is optional, but the option is to either play video games from 3 to 5 pm on Friday with the team, or take the same two hours off unpaid. I think that’s a great style of motivation. You can leave early, which sounds good, or you can play games and get paid for it, which sounds even better!
If you aren’t familiar with multiplayer video games, they are as the name suggests — multiple players in the same game. Often people are on teams in these games, where they work together. There’s also the added benefit of cost — there’s an initial setup cost to get the game, but then there’s no more business expense for it. In a way, it’s like going out to play golf or going to a restaurant with your colleagues, except that there’s no cost, and it’s even more fun.
Here’s the link to the news article about it: Shooting the boss (and getting paid for it). (Props to Turtle Dundee for the link.)
Personally, I think this is a great idea! And as the owner of my own business, I am immediately implementing this team-building exercise at my company. (And before you ask, no, I’m not hiring at this time. Sorry.) Hopefully many other companies will realize the value in this and start such programs. It seems like a win-win program for everyone.