Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gaming seen as means to reduce workplace stress

COMPANIES are increasingly considering ‘gaming’ as a serious option for employee engagement and organisational development initiatives. Gaming during office hours is believed to help in creating an interactive work environment and a relaxed mindset, when the employees get more creative. However, the trend is more confined to IT, media and some service sectors alone.

According to Prashant Bhaskar, CEO of plugHR, a Mumbai-based HR management company, “gaming is seen as a required breather for roles that get monotonous or stressful.

The other outcome of the gaming in particular is that it creates opportunities for teams to closely engage with each other, which in due course would help in sorting out some serious people issues.” plugHR encourages its employees across India to play Dream11’s fantasy cricket, a online game that gives a chance for a user to create fantasy teams of real cricketers in their allocated budget of virtual money and score points depending on how those cricketers perform in real-life matches. Other companies to use gaming in employee engagement include Microsoft, Google and Intel.

Incidentally, Dream11 has 5 lakh registered users.

Harsh Jain, founder and CMD of Dream11 said, "gaming is a very easy way to break barriers. It lets the introvert natured employees to come out of the inhibitions and improves em ployee interaction. In today's stressful work environment, creating a relaxed and interesting work environment is essential to make the employees more creative and productive."

Though Dream11's present focus is only on cricket, the company has plans to create fantasy football, which Jain said would take off in a big way in In dia in the coming years.

As India gets exposed to the world more, and more the world interacts with In dia, there is going to be a paradigm shift in work cul ture, which will be similar to developed countries where the bosses encourages em ployees to play fantasy sports, according to him.

Fantasy games involve a player in strategic decision making and judging peo ple's skills, which helps in enhancing overall manage ment skills. Fantasy gaming is part of the $5 billion global fantasy sports indus try with 60 million people playing worldwide.

Rajesh Patro, senior di rector-HR, Ness Technologies India said, "Gam ing allows employees to take some break out time, to refresh themselves and come back with renewed energy. Though we do not Pallavi allow online games, we have facilities for chess, table tennis and carom. We believe gaming promotes bonding and lot of cama raderie within the team."

He added that companies are realising the need of providing a work-life balance to an employee at the work place, given the stress at workplace.

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