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Can Gaming and Activities Boost Mental Health in the Workplace?

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Employees are more aware of the importance of their mental health and the concept of work-life balance than ever before. In addition, following a pandemic whereby many employees experienced working from home for the first time, they’ve become accustomed to a little more self-care in the workplace.

One of the best things that employers can do to accommodate these shifting attitudes is to promote a working culture where the work itself isn’t the only priority. Activities designed to promote mental wellbeing will foster a social culture with immense benefits for everyone involved. Similarly, video games are considered particularly positive for mental health.

For the right work environments, both have a significant part to play. Moreover, with many employees now relying on their employers for assistance with both their mental and physical health, it’s a great time to make some worthwhile changes.

Workplace activities for a mental health boost

Managers who are open to new ideas can benefit from specific activities designed to make employees feel great about their work and colleagues. Social health is an essential part of modern wellbeing and all the more challenging with so many employees continuing to work from home.

That’s another important consideration for managers seeking to boost office well-being. Some employees may spend their whole working week in the office, while others have taken to working from home exclusively.

Yet more employees combine both and ensuring that everyone is in the same place and at the same time to participate in activities is a challenge in itself.

Even with a mixed audience, there are plenty of activities out there that work every bit as well over Zoom as they do in person.

Lunch with an expert

Motivational speakers are not in short supply, and they represent just one category of experts that could help boost team spirit.

Good managers ensure that their employees take time to themselves, and this can be as simple as encouraging those working remotely to take their lunch breaks and switch off – at least briefly.

You could use stress management specialists, mental health practitioners, or anyone else and learn from them as a team. Few things beat eating together to form bonds, and professional advice in the process can launch a surge in community spirit.

Launch office-wide wellness programmes

If you have some budget to spare, you can leverage your company’s size to obtain discounts on your employees’ behalf. There are likely gyms, spas, health clubs, and more nearby if you’re centrally located. With cost being one of the most significant barriers between employees and taking time for themselves, a relatively small investment can reap incredible rewards.

Doing so also opens up the possibility of further group activities outside the office, challenges between teams in the workplace and much more.

Organise a collaborative goal-setting exercise

One of the best things for any employee is to feel like their ideas and contributions matter. You can benefit staff and your business alike by bringing people together for a good old-fashioned brainstorm.

Cast the hierarchy aside and explore what can be achieved on an equal footing. People are always more enthusiastic about achieving goals they were involved in setting.

Gaming at work

Depending on your approach to management, the thought of games in the workplace might be a complete antithesis to what you expect from your team. However, with proven benefits across all sorts of different games and plenty of equipment already available to make it happen, it’s worth exploring.

Most employees spend eight hours or more on-site each day. However, it’s widely accepted that most people can manage around six hours of focused productivity each day. Any more than that, and they’re at risk of burnout.

Games could not only become acceptable in downtime but might be actively encouraged.

An openness to distraction

Some employees benefit greatly from switching off completely from the task at hand, even in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, back when computers came with games like Solitaire by default, many companies chose to block them.

Nowadays, times have changed, and simple games like Solitaire and Freecell Challenge, for those that prefer something in a web browser, should be embraced.

A few minutes of flagrant ‘time-wasting’ can help to optimise dedicated productive hours.

The social element

We touched on the social interaction element of games and their part in mental health, and it’s worth taking advantage of technology to bring people closer – even in a virtual world.

Your office probably already has a network, and remote workers can join in online. Among Us is great for this purpose among the blockbusters, and there are plenty of network-based trivia games out there to suit any field of expertise.

Wrapping up

There are clear benefits to inviting activities and games into the workplace, and the biggest challenge is often shifting attitudes. Many managers are set in their ways, and allowing such activities among employees goes against everything they’re accustomed to. However, opening up to these opportunities can make for happier, more productive employees, higher retention and a workplace culture to rival any other.

James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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