Why Playing Video Games During Your Break Can Be Helpful
Even in today's corporate landscape, the thought of playing video games while on company time may still raise some eyebrows. But the truth is that more companies are acknowledging the benefits of letting employees play video games during their break. According to research from the University of London, playing video games helps people improve their decision-making skills. They can also sharpen a their ability to improvise, which is an important skill in the workplace. The BBC adds that the benefits of gaming go beyond mere entertainment, as many casual gamers play to feel like they are in control. Unlike browsing social media or reading online content, the satisfaction that gamers feel when they excel in a game can translate to an increased level of confidence. It also renews their sense of autonomy, especially if they work in an environment that does not give them much time to do what they want. According to Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University in Florida, “Some video games are built to give you a short experience where you can be competent or autonomous.” The shot of dopamine that people get from playing a video game can invigorate them in better ways than smoking a cigarette or eating junk food. Additionally, playing video games can help in stimulating aspects of your personality or using skills that tend to get under-utilised at work. Being able to feel like your skills are being maximised for a greater purpose – e.g. fighting bad guys in a virtual world – can improve your morale and energy levels. But the most important benefit of playing a game in your downtime is that it allows you to de-stress and take a step back from your tasks. This is invaluable, especially in intense creative environments. Being put into a different state of mind allows you to go back to your workload with a fresh perspective. Of course, knowing the right game for you is half the battle. Some games can be too stressful if they require too much brain power or if they also remind you of your work. Playing a game that is in tune with your own interests without taking too much of your energy is crucial, especially if you are only taking a quick break. This is where having variety can help in de-stressing. After all, when we are in work mode, we have to focus on very specific tasks and activities. The tension accumulated from concentrating on your work can be released if you have access to a wide array of games, as you can simply select one according to your mood or preference. Websites such as Y8, Newgrounds, and Kongregate offer a plethora of flash games that require very little focus and often have content from various genres. Similarly, gaming company Slingo Slots has an entire arsenal of thematic titles, which cater to specific themes and tastes. Fans of pop culture will enjoy movie or TV-inspired games including Terminator 2 and Game of Thrones, while music enthusiasts would probably prefer the visuals and audio of Guns N' Roses and the King of Pop slot games. Finally, there are more games on Google Play and the App Store than you could ever play in your lifetime. Prune, for instance, is about pruning a virtual bonsai tree into whatever form that you desire. INKS is another satisfying title – it’s a pinball game that has a visual twist, as every corner that your ball hits bursts with colour. If your aim is just to unwind, even watching gaming streams without actually playing can be a satisfying alternative. What matters most is that you get to take your mind off your work. One important thing to remember, however, is work-life balance. Knowing when to play and when to work is something that still requires commitment and discipline. As we have discussed in a previous Mind It post on meditation and the workplace, being able to integrate production and down-time within a workday can result in a more positive work environment. If video games are what you need to perform at your best, then that's one less reason to worry about productivity.