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Play a Game, Improve Productivity?

2457046821_83fd397428_m.jpgCan playing games at the office make you better at your job?

That's the promise being sold by companies such as Snowfly. Snowfly's top product, Capstone, a Web-based software application that provides workers with games for which they earn "eTokens" and points by "meeting predefined goals and/or demonstration of desirable behaviors." Accumulate enough points, and you can trade them in for cash cards.

At the heart of Snowfly's approach is behavior modification. The games are supposed to replace traditional incentive systems and target objectives set by theparticipating company, such as reducing employee turnover and absenteeism, increasing sales, or boosting employee recognition.

If this sounds a little far-out to you, consider Christopher Null's recent PC World article about gaming at work. He writes,

"A number of companies have found that using video games as a way to reward employees for reaching their goals or increasing their productivity can improve office productivity and morale. During the current economic downturn, rewards for overworked employees can be especially welcome."
Other benefits of in-office gaming cited by Null include the use of video games as training tools; to help workers on overnight shifts stay awake and alert; and building morale and team cohesion, as when interoffice teams engage friendly rivalries in PC-based multiplayer games.

Finally, an office culture that permits gaming can help keep productivity high by encouraging people to take breaks and recharge.

So for all of you who play solitaire, Tetris, or Half-Life on the job, rock on, content in the knowledge that you're just really making yourself a more productive worker.

(image by tifotter via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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