Washington D.C.: Looking for enhancing your output at the office? It turns out playing video games with co-workers can ensure better performance at the workplace.
According to a recent study, work teams experienced a 20 per cent increase in productivity on subsequent tasks after playing video games together for just 45 minutes.
"To see that big of a jump, especially for the amount of time they played, was a little shocking. Companies are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on team-building activities, and I'm thinking, go buy an Xbox," said Greg Anderson, co-author of the study.
As part of the study, the researchers recruited 352 individuals and randomly organised them into 80 teams, making sure no participants with pre-existing relationships were on the same team. For their initial experimental task, each team played in a geocaching competition called Findamine, an exercise created by previous IS researchers, which gives players short, text-based clues to find landmarks. Participants were incentivized with cash rewards for winning the competition.
Following their first round of Findamine, teams were randomly assigned to one of three conditions before being sent out to geocache again: 1) team video gaming, 2) quiet homework time or 3) a "goal training" discussion on improving their geocaching results. Each of these conditions lasted 45 minutes and those in the video gaming treatment chose to play either Rock Band or Halo 4 -- games selected because they are both familiar and require coordinated efforts among players.
The researchers found that while the goal-training teams reported a higher increase in team cohesion than the video-gaming teams, the video gamers increased actual performance on their second round of Findamine significantly, raising average scores from 435 to 520.
Findings of the study were published in the Journal of AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction
"Team video gaming may truly be viable -- and perhaps even optimal -- alternative for team building," said lead researcher Mark Keith.
Researchers also said it doesn't matter if people are avid video gamers to see the positive effects of gaming together; they observed video game novices established communications norms -- and built working relationships -- even quicker with new teammates so as to learn the nuances of the game.