Companies are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on team-building activities, but may be just buying an Xbox or PlayStation will serve their purpose, a researcher said.
Greg Anderson, who co-authored a study on ways to build a team for best office productivity, suggested this.
The study, published in the journal AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, said playing video games with one’s co-workers would result in more productive hours. But of course not in the office settings.
For their study, the research team recruited 352 individuals and randomly organised them into 80 teams, making sure none had pre-existing relationships.
They found the newly-formed work teams experienced a 20 per cent increase in productivity on subsequent tasks after playing video games together for just 45 minutes.
“Team video gaming may truly be a viable — and perhaps even optimal — alternative for team building,” said lead researcher Mark Keith, Associate Professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, US.
For their initial experimental task, each team played in a geocaching competition called Findamine, an exercise created by previous researchers which gives players short, text-based clues to find landmarks.
They were incentivised with cash rewards for winning the competition.
Following their first round of Findamine, teams were randomly assigned to one of three conditions before being sent out to geocache again — team video gaming, quiet homework time or a “goal training” discussion on improving their geocaching results.
Again each of these conditions lasted 45 minutes. Those in the video gaming treatment chose either Rock Band or Halo 4 — as both are familiar and require coordinated efforts among players.
The researchers found that while the goal-training teams reported a higher increase in team cohesion than the video-gaming teams, the video gamers increased actual performance on their second round of Findamine significantly, raising average scores from 435 to 520.
“To see that big a jump — especially for the amount of time they played — was a little shocking,” said Anderson from the varsity.