Some people believe that video games and the workplace don't mix. Work is where you go to earn money, and you can't make money if you're distracted or wasting valuable time. But although the majority of employers don't tolerate video games during business hours, research shows that playing video games at work can be beneficial. In fact, it might increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
According to a recent survey by WorldWinner, a subsidiary of FUN Technologies Inc., "more than 80 percent of online gamers who play on and off throughout the workday said they are able to better focus on work after playing. A reported 72 percent actually rely on game breaks to help them deal with job-related stress."
Some companies, such as Edmunds.com, have gone as far as creating an on-site game room -- a place where its employees can take short breaks and decompress for a few minutes.
"We want our employees to enjoy being here. The game room is very much a part of who we are and what we're all about," says COO Avi Steinlauf. "If employees want to take a break, they're encouraged to visit the room, which includes Pop-a-Shot basketball, arcade-style video games and an industry-appropriate, dual-person car racing game.”
But while some companies welcome gaming at work, it's not a widely accepted practice. In fact, your boss might take issue with you sneaking in a few games between meetings. There are, however, ways to make it happen -- because it takes careful planning and you'll need to keep your guard up.
#1 Choose games that won't take up a lot of time
Some games aren't appropriate for the office since they can consume a lot of valuable time and significantly decrease productivity. For that matter, only choose games that you can play quickly. This way, you can get back to work without your boss realizing you took a break. For example, some games -- such as Candy Crush -- only give a certain number of lives at one time. Therefore, you can play a few rounds without getting sucked into a long game.
#2 Clear your history
If you're playing a game from your work computer, always clear your history when exiting the game. Don't leave any evidence on your computer. In addition, close games before going back to work. The last thing you need is for your boss to step into your office while you're away and see an open tab for a game.
#3 Download games to a flash drive or smartphone
Even if you clear the history and shut down the game before going back to work, your employer might be able to see your recent activity with Internet tracking software, or an IT staff member might be monitoring all employee computer activity in real time, making it impossible to play games on the company's computers and network.
Therefore, if you're determined to play video games at work without your boss knowing, transfer the game to a flash drive, and then plug the drive into your computer when you're ready to play. This way, the game isn't installed on your work computer or the company's servers. Another option is downloading game apps to your smartphone or tablet computer. Since these devices are smaller and easy to hide, it'll be easier to sneak in a few rounds of your favorite games.
#4 Wait until your boss is away
To avoid any slip ups, only play games when your boss is occupied in a meeting or out of the office for lunch or another appointment.
#5 Turn down your sound
Always mute the sound on your computer before opening a game at work. Some video games have a variety of alarms, bells and whistles, and if you're not careful, the sound of your game can resonate through the office -- a dead giveaway that you're slacking off.
#6 Keep a work tab open at all times
Then again, maybe your boss never leaves the office. In this case, try and position your computer so that the screen isn't facing the door. Keep your office door closed or slightly cracked, if possible. Before opening the video game on your computer, open another tab or window with a work spreadsheet. Therefore, if your boss walks into your office unexpectedly, you can quickly switch tabs to a work document.
Understandably, your boss doesn't pay you to play video games at work. But taking five or ten minutes to clear your head can rejuvenate your mind and help you get through the remainder of the day.
What tips can you offer for playing video games at work?
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