video games used for team-building at work

Do you ever get stressed at work?  Or have you ever dreamed of getting paid to play video games?   Many people would answer yes to both questions, and now some companies play multiplayer video games at work to bond with each other and to reduce stress — and they get paid for it!

Kevin Grinnell at Grinnell Computers has started such a plan, and it’s a hit.  He considers it a team-building exercise, saying:

“We laugh until we cry when we play these games. We can do the thing where we have company dinners, and company functions, but those really aren’t stress relief. At times, they can be more stress than they’re worth.”

That last part is certainly true sometimes.  I’ve been to work dinners and outings where you had to pay your way (and didn’t really want to go), or where some coworkers will get drunk and act stupid, or where the company tries to manufacture fun and it doesn’t work and you’d rather be at work than at the “fun” outing.

You don't get to do stunts like this in real life...
You don't get to do stunts like this in real life...

Not only is that a great way to release stress, but it also causes people to let their guard down, to be themselves.  For Grinnell, the gaming is optional, but the option is to either play video games from 3 to 5 pm on Friday with the team, or take the same two hours off unpaid.  I think that’s a great style of motivation.   You can leave early, which sounds good, or you can play games and get paid for it, which sounds even better!

If you aren’t familiar with multiplayer video games, they are as the name suggests — multiple players in the same game.  Often people are on teams in these games, where they work together.  There’s also the added benefit of cost — there’s an initial setup cost to get the game, but then there’s no more business expense for it.  In a way, it’s like going out to play golf or going to a restaurant with your colleagues, except that there’s no cost, and it’s even more fun.

guess what's about to happen here
What could've happened here?

Here’s the link to the news article about it: Shooting the boss (and getting paid for it).  (Props to Turtle Dundee for the link.)

Personally, I think this is a great idea!  And as the owner of my own business, I am immediately implementing this team-building exercise at my company.  (And before you ask, no, I’m not hiring at this time.  Sorry.)  Hopefully many other companies will realize the value in this and start such programs.  It seems like a win-win program for everyone.

the fun work atmosphere at Google

What is cubicle life like working at Google?  Apparently not too bad.  Check out this photo gallery for an idea of how it’s very different from your normal tech company.

It says they get three free gourmet meals per day.  And they have pool tables, swimming pools, and you can even get massages.  I’m thinking they should open an office in Arkansas…  🙂

If Buffet o’ Blog ever has corporate offices, it would be like that, but even better!  We’d have unlimited sweet tea for employees, fun breakout sessions for generating new humor and research ideas, ample breaks, Bacon Mondays (where people bring a bacon dish to share with everyone, to make the day better), and extra compensation would be based on creating new, original humor.  (It sounds strange to pay people more for being funny, but that’s what we do here — generate humor.   It’s a great job — well, if only it paid enough for me to be full-time!)

you must take breaks at work

Did you know that there are federally mandated breaks for workers?  That is, you’re supposed to get something like 15 minutes off for every 4 hours of work.  (Those numbers may vary; I can’t be bothered with research right now… too much stuff to do.)

By my reasoning, if you don’t take your two 15-minute breaks per 8 hour workday, then you’re breaking the law.  I mean, they are federally mandated, which means the government is telling you to do it.  So unless you want to be a criminal, you’d better be taking those breaks!

BTW, your employer might not mention that, because some places want you to work, work, work all the time.  But don’t let them strong-arm you into illegal practices.  Know your rights!  Knowing is half the battle!   (And in this case, goofing off for 15 minutes is the other half.)  🙂

my job made me sick

It’s been about a year since I got laid-off from my job at a cubicle farm (or, as known to some, a large IT corporation).  I recently realized that I haven’t got sick in any way since then — no cold or flu, no stomach virus, nothing of that sort.   So obviously that means it was the company that was making me get sick.

Just thought I’d let you know, in case you also get inexplicably sick once in a while.  Perhaps you’re also allergic to cubicle farms…