How do you strengthen the ties between employees in a hybrid working world? One of the paths that HR often pursues is based on serious gaming. Microsoft just prefers “gaming” and integrates its Solitaire and other minesweepers into multiplayer versions at the heart of Teams!
While a majority of CIOs and PC fleet managers rush to remove system-integrated games from their Windows deployments, Microsoft wants to re-filter them into the heart of their Teams collaboration hub! These Windows games, like Solitaire or Minesweeper, hitherto perceived as detrimental to employee productivity is making a strong comeback in the business, driven by hybrid work and the need to find new ways to reconnect employees who work from home or on the road much of the time.
Thus, last week Microsoft formalized a feature that we had repeated last June: the arrival of games in Teams. ” People everywhere strive to build trust, bond and improve team morale. Why not play games to help them? Playing games with coworkers can really foster relationships and collaboration. While some may see gaming in the workplace as a distraction, the benefits are many. In fact, according to a Brigham Young University study, teams that play short video games together are 20% more productive than those that participate in more traditional team building activities. explains Nicole Herskowitz, Vice President Microsoft Teams.
The “Games for Work” application is installed at the heart of Microsoft’s collaboration hub. Integrating a game into a Teams meeting takes just one click. Four games are available today. All are developed by the “Microsoft Casual Games” studio and are derived from games available in the Windows Store: Solitaire, Minesweeper, Wordament and IceBreakers. But these versions are special. They have been rewritten in a “multi player” version and support from 2 to 250 players!
” More than 3 billion people around the world play games. They have a crucial role in bringing people together – especially in recent years with the pandemic crisis lockdown says Jill Braff, general manager of the Microsoft Casual Games studio. ” Games promote creativity, collaboration and communication… We can’t wait to see how the Games for Work app on Microsoft Teams will inspire productivity and connect at work. »
Of course, not everyone is a gamer. But the offered games are available to as many people as possible and, the magic of Teams obliges, collaborators are not all obliged to participate actively and can only look at others compete while making comments and gently mocking their colleagues.
Let’s face it, we at InformatiqueNews are very curious to see how this functionality will be appreciated by CIOs and renowned European executives who are not really fans of mixing leisure and work. The games can be very addictive, especially in the multiplayer versions, where everyone is challenged to beat the others’ record. And addiction is rarely compatible with productivity. Games For Work wants to instill a more collaborative culture in a world of work that has become hybrid but it will first be necessary, in many companies, to change the culture of CEOs, HR and CIOs.
But at a time when layoffs are on the rise at tech companies, using the game can be a fun and entertaining way to strengthen team bonds and inject some fun into a potentially sour one.
Microsoft’s initiative is not unique. Other publishers are also trying to rely on games and fun activities to make meetings more interactive and promote “team building”. This is especially the case with “Kahoot! », a publisher specializing in game-based learning in school and business. Its solution can be integrated with Teams and other collaboration platforms. In a slightly different style, it is also the case with Polly (which integrates with Teams, Slack and Zoom) and aims to make meetings much more interactive with quizzes and games.
A different but complementary approach to “Serious Games” carried out by European and French players such as Succubus Interactive, Manzalab, My-Serious-Game, iLow or in cyber security Terranova.
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