Unless you're one of those weirdos who write about video games for a living, chances are you keep your gaming and work life separate. Even taking a few minutes out to play a game on your phone may be looked down upon as a waste of time. Well, we may need to rethink the separation between work and play – according to a new study, introducing games into the workplace can actually increase productivity by reducing stress and fatigue.
The study, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NBCI) intentionally wore subjects down with a series of repetitive computer tasks. They were then allowed a break, with half of the 66 participants taking part in a guided relaxation exercise, while the others got to play the puzzle game Sushi Cat. Everybody was a little more relaxed after the break, but only the video game players actually felt refreshed and more ready to work. Ultimately, the study came to the following conclusion:
"Playing a casual video game even briefly can restore individuals' affective abilities, making it a suitable activity to restore mood in response to stress. However, future research is needed to find activities capable of more fully restoring cognitive restoration."
According to researcher Michael Rupp, the "heads down, no distractions" approach so many of us take to work isn't actually the right approach…
"We often try to power through the day to get more work finished, which might not be as effective as taking some time to detach for a few minutes. People should plan short breaks to make time for an engaging and enjoyable activity, such as video games, that can help them recharge."
Video games – is there anything they can't do? Of course, your workplace probably isn't going to set up a PS4 or install a Mortal Kombat cabinet any time soon, but maybe grabbing a few games for your phone wouldn't be the worst idea. Your boss can't exactly complain if your productivity goes up!
Now, somebody just has to figure out how us folks who already think about video games all day are supposed to take a break from work.