The office! Every morning we travel and spend one third of our life in it. The office of today is a place which plays significant part in our lives. For better or worse it is often our second home. We strive to make it not just cozier physical space, but also to relate it with the fondest emotions and memories, that make us feel free and to be ourselves. How? Let’s take a look back to the past.
And more specifically in our childhood and the games that entertained us when we were children.
The playful approach is not something brand new. The tendencies for its integration in every part of our life and the positive aspect that it brings are constant object of exploration and analysis (for example: the workspace of Publicis Groupe, that won the award for “Most creative office”, given by B2b Media, counts on a room full of musical instruments. There the team gathers to play and create without being bothered. And different studies show that playing music with a band is among the most effective ways to bring people together and motivate creativity).
To answer this question, we will travel to Germany, University of Konstanz, where a new study among 107 business companies with over 15 000 employees shows that integration of office games and playful atmosphere into the workspace helps workers to feel younger than they are. People who can achieve this are also able to finish their tasks quicker and with better results. First of all, playing office games adds the element of competition, increases the value of teamwork, loyalty, strategic thinking and last but not least, they are just fun. Secondly, if you include games in the working hours, it will reduce stress in the office and the process would give the players some interesting ideas that they could use in their tasks.
Here are some interesting examples:
Question of the Day
Each morning, on a rotation basis, colleagues think of an interesting and creative question and write it somewhere to be answered by everyone during the day. The purpose of the game is to leave the most original, fun answer and if you want, you could do it anonymously, so everyone have to guess which answer is yours at the end of the day.
This kind of games seem to be pretty basic, like exercises without the competition. When you look in perspective though, “Question of the day” helps the players to get to know each other better and to bring the best out of their colleagues. It is especially useful when someone new joins the team.
“The Idea Killer”
“The Idea Killer” is a list-making game, that you could play in teams. The first step is to gather in the office and brainstorm some negative words and phrases, that demotivate the team during the work process. After writing down certain amount of these – 10, 20, 100, etc., to be careful not to use them in your speech.
The purpose of this game is for the team to build a positive environment in the office.
Create a nation
This game is inspired by the book Weslandia, written by Paul Fleischmann. The main character, Wesley, has to come up with a project during the summer break. And he decides to make his own country.
You should start with forming the team that chooses the setup. List tasks that are easy to achieve as:
– how much time do you plan for writing down the main concept
– who’s in charge of what
– what type of government would you choose – monarchy, republic, empire even
– promote people for the main ruling roles in your country and decide what direction would you want to take
With every step, your project will encounter new problems that you have to solve and it will become clear the pros and cons of your team. Who is born to lead and who is born to follow. Each little detail would give you skills to deal with new issues and that would broaden your horizons and the scope of action in your team.
Grab the Bag
The team is divided in smaller groups and every one of them gets a bag/set with X pieces of different things. In 5-10 minutes each team should come up with a unique story, using all the subjects along with gestures.
This game would stimulate players to think more creatively and to get out of their comfort zones. Also, it does not take much time. You would achieve similar results with other games as Charades or the board game Dixit, that is included in one of the following parts.
The Office Comics
Set up a place where everyone can draw and write – in short illustrations and text bubbles you should recreate funny, memorable, key moments from the office in the current week. Let everyone write/draw their contributions and at the end of the period gather all of the stories. And thus, you would have a creative memory for your team at this certain time.
The creation of a comics, even just as a game, demands great teamwork and coordination between strengths and weaknesses of each member. While some of the team players would be great at drawing, others’ contributions would be in bringing the dialogue on the board. So everyone is going to be useful in the best way possible.
Board games are getting more and more popular among managers of smaller teams. They use them to stimulate analytical thinking and promote loyalty and healthful competition.
If you would like to play a cooperative game where all players have to defeat the game itself, there are not-so-epic, but well-developed games: Legends of Andor, Pandemic, Mysterium, etc. The idea of this type of board games is to fight a despicable scenario – pandemic, the end of the world, an evil sorcerer, that conquers the whole world, and therefore your task is to stop all this.
Another type of board games is the one where everyone is in competition with the others. They collect points and at the end of the game the one with most points wins.
– Dixit is a game with incredible design, that counts on the skills to make associations to get the victory.
– King of Tokyo on the other hand is a dice-rolling game, with some special deck-building mechanics.
– Carcassonne’s mechanic is mainly tile-laying and managing big territories on the play field, which gives you points at the end. This game develops the skill to look both at the bigger picture as well as the details.
Most important of all, whatever game you choose, you have to make many important decisions that affect not only you, but everyone in the team. Think couple of turns ahead of the others. And try to become flexible and ready to negotiate (as you have to be in real life).
“Try higher than before”
For this game you have to make two (or more) teams or you can play free-for-all. You need just a pen and a (high) wall. The idea is for every team/player to reach as high as they can and leave a mark on the wall.
It ends when one of the teams/players reaches higher than the others could. And the best part is that everything is allowed. Set your imagination free. Sky is the limit.
The physical dimensions of this game allow you to be really creative in little room. You can build a tower out of desks and chairs or every teammate would help you with hand-steps. The choice is yours.
Last words before the end of the game?
In conclusion, the aforementioned examples could be only the beginning for your team. Why don’t you come up with your own games, unique for your environment/office/company?
Finally, if you already did that, tell us what ways of entertainment, bringing the team close and promoting creativity and productivity do you use in your office?