The Power to Bring People Together
Ever since I started playing video games I have been a firm believer of the power they have to bring people together. And I think it can be used in during this Covid pandemic to engage employees who have to work from home!
While we often see news in the media about gaming putting people on the path of violence, making them so irresponsible that they try to get out from having to work by gaming all day. Last week I even heard someone say that playing video games means you’re not taking responsibility and being an adult.
I of course wholeheartedly disagree. Picking up Animal Crossing for the first time way back has enriched my life with online friends that are very dear to me. And we just have to look at Pokémon Go, that not only had the effect of getting people out of their house and walking. But it also brought large groups of people together sharing in the game. I remember going to one of my cities parks with Caroline, sitting on the grass there with many, many people around. All were exited to find a special Pokémon, or gathered around the parks Pokémon Gym. Players put lures on Hotspots to get more critters to appear to the benefit of all. Gifts were being sent…in fact just writing about this makes me long for those days.
Keep Employees Engaged During Covid Lockdown
What I wanted to tell you is this: I work for a large bank in the Netherlands and as the bank is strict as should be, office personnel has been working from home for almost a year now. Most of us haven’t seen the inside of our offices since mid March, and as people do: we adjust and work goes on like it did before Covid. Many, many Teams meetings and only seeing your colleagues on your computer screen. What my company is very good at too, is keeping tabs on the employees well being, especially now. People who have children at home they have to homeschool too, people who really hate being all alone in their home office and not be able to socialize. So initiatives to try and help people are encouraged.
For my department of some 60 people I am one of the ‘Culture Coaches’. We try to gauge if people are doing alright, if there are issues they don’t want to share with the managers and we try to work on engagement: keeping our colleagues connected in our team even at this distance. For this, I came up with a plan: engage them by gaming. Right up my ally right?
Let the Games Begin!
So here’s the plan: we feature mobile games that they can dive into and play together with their colleagues. Each game has one person who knows how the game works and can help others, as most don’t ever play games at all. In this way, interaction is stimulated and this time, it doesn’t have to be about work.
I’ll be heading Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, for when they like cute, colorful and laid back. Another laid back game is My Tamagotchi Forever, taking care of your virtual pet, led by Petra. Funny story there: her son works as one of the developers at the Dutch company Paladin behind the game!
We also feature Wordfeud, a scrabble game ( in America Words with Friends was more well knows), where my colleague Simone is the connoisseur. And lastly we have Mario Kart, for those who want competition. Maybe, if the plan is successful, we might add another genre, like an Adventure game or RPG.
The plan is going to kick off next week, and I’m exited to see if it works. Will people who don’t often pick up their phone to play a game like it? And will it keep them engaged? I’m as curious as you are!
Meanwhile, I’m wondering: do you get to work at home currently? And is your company helpful when it comes to the well being of its employees?