Games and entertainment boost morale and productivity at work

We know what many hours of work, without any play, makes Jack a dull boy. In the end, Jack will be too exhausted to consistently give any good output.

The company Jack works for will lionise him for a limited period before Jack, demotivated, bored and exhausted, can’t give the same quality any longer.

This is the reason why companies are now setting up outdoor facilities to offer various forms of entertainment to employees to release some steam that builds up in the course of duty.

Some have the facilities indoors; others even have music playing as work continues.

Faith Nafula, a psychologist, says that the need for entertainment in a workplace cannot be overstated. “There is something known as music therapy in hospitals, workplaces and even therapy rooms,” she says.

“Music has a way of communicating peace. Gospel music gives reassurance to Christians. Classical music has some calming effects. We have music that gives good memories. Some genres set the mood for the occasion.”

Music aside, the availability of gaming spaces in the workplace is a motivating factor for employees and is likely to up productivity. Nafula says that this, however, needs to be regulated to ensure freedoms are not abused.

It is likely some employees will never embrace games, either due to their personalities or simply because they would want to work on and on.

This should not mean that an employer fails to provide the facilities for the takers. “Intensive work needs relaxation. If people do not take breaks and engage in entertaining activities, they may snap due to work pressure,” she says.

“Especially for people who work from morning to evening every day, often seated in their offices, these facilities are a way to let go of some of the stress building up.”

Some of the mega offices in the world are even referred to as campuses; they are expansive, with an array of buildings sprawled over a large area.

Tens of thousands of employees would be working here; in some of the tech companies, staff will be constantly engaging on how to build, and test, new products in an increasingly competitive industry. Such companies, such as Google and Microsoft, ensure they have numerous entertainment facilities, including pool tables, swimming pools, football pitches, basketball courts and even indoor board games and electronic games.

Nafula says that these gaming facilities help employees talk and bond.

Gaming facilities

A lot of these games involve playing in teams, and this helps build a spirit of teamwork.

“There is synergy. People in the office get to know one another, interact with one another, to understand one another better. Games have this effect,” she says. Lazy employees would, however, take advantage of such facilities to waste time at the workplace.

According to Nafula, there needs to have structures and deadlines to monitor how these facilities are used. This could prevent some staff from spending too much time entertaining themselves and too little time working.

In addition to the gaming facilities, the presence of open spaces adorned with plants is also therapeutic to workers.

The ambience, the green cool spaces without noise, create relaxation for people and is likely to make them more productive. CIPHR, a UK based payroll, recruitment and learning software provider says content employees who have fun at work “are more likely to avoid the negative effects of stress and anxiety and have even been shown to have a lower heart rate variability (the time interval between beats) with is associated with a risk of disease”.

The company also insists that happy employees are more likely to always show up at work while also not trying too hard to please.

“The health effects that happiness has on your workforce will also help to reduce absence costs and reduce presenteeism,” says CIPHR.

“If your workers are generally healthier as a result of the increased fun they’re having in the office, then they’ll take less time off due to sickness. Introduce more fun activities into your workplace, and health and wellbeing initiatives, and you should be able to track the positive effect on absence rates via your HR system.”

The company also says that fun breeds trust among workers. “Nearly two-thirds of knowledge workers collaborate multiple times a day with their colleagues, so encouraging an effective way to improve cohesion within your organisation should be a priority,” notes CIPHR.

“Enjoying time with colleagues in a relaxed and fun environment encourages honest and open discussion and trust in one another. If employees are friends with the people they work with, as opposed to simply being colleagues, then they’ll work better together and communicate more effectively.”

For the world’s biggest tech firms, the games are supposed to up creativity among staff.  “Individuals’ ability to learn improves when the task at hand is enjoyable and they’re in a relaxed mood. Play can also stimulate imagination, helping people adapt and problem solve,” says CIPHR.

The site also notes that a 2015 study by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that happier employees are more productive by an average of 12 per cent and, in some cases, up to 20 per cent more than a control group.

Music, the green spaces for relaxation and games are all valuable for the firm, boosting both the morale and productivity of employees.