Surprise: videos-game players have an edge in the office

Whether it’s Super Smash Bros or the pandemic-favorite “Animal Crossing,” a new study found that playing video games can help people reach the next level in their careers.

So why isn’t everyone playing them? Answer: Because they’re often perceived as counter-productive. To burst that bubble, we describe four ways that video games can benefit professionals.

Reason #1: Gaming translates to real-life success

Nearly half of Americans said video games helped prepare them for success, while six in 10 said games fostered creativity or problem-solving skills. The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of World of Warships by Wargaming, also found that respondents learned several skills through video games that can be extended to real-life work. (Take the findings with a grain of salt as a gaming company sponsored the research.)

Respondents claimed they’ve learned more life skills through games than in school, and those skills include:

  • Problem solving (58%)
  • Memory (54%)
  • Hand-eye coordination (53%)
  • Concentration (53%)
  • Strategy (50%)
  • Multitasking (46%)

Reason #2: Team bonding is rewarded, which can lead to increased productivity

Video games often get labeled as a production killer. Your parents probably warned you about how they allegedly make you lazy and anti-social.

Now imagine telling your parents that they actually do the complete opposite.

Research by Bringham Young University found that work teams that play video games can increase productivity by 20% after playing together for just 45 minutes.

The study also found that by using video games, employees could create bonds between one another that could negate biases and negative thinking.

“To see that big of a jump—especially for the amount of time they played—was a little shocking,” said BYU associate professor Greg Anderson. “Companies are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on team-building activities, and I’m thinking, go buy an Xbox.”

Reason #3: Games are used to treat brain fog

Brain fog is a neurological issue that has been harming COVID-19 survivors. People who got sick from the virus experienced a range of side effects that fall under brain fog, from trouble concentrating to memory problems.

Brain fog interferes with the ability to work  — and takes a toll on personal well-being — which is why researchers at Weill Cornel Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center wanted to see if video games could help people battling the issue.

Although trials are currently underway, video games have successfully been used before to treat children with ADHD. The hope with these trials is that people who survived COVID-19 will show improvement in cognition and functional outcomes.

Reason #4: Video games can build character

No, we’re not saying you’ll start wearing a puffy red hat like Mario, but the video games people played as kids helped shape them into who they are today.

In fact, 66% of Americans said that playing video games as a kid helped mold their current-day personalities.

Maybe it’s time to dust off the old Nintendo system.