A Super Simple Strategy to Gamify Your Workplace

by Irene Enriquez


Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net/podpad



Whether you’re part of a startup with a four-person team or a large corporation with thousands of employees, you might have encountered this challenge: keeping your employees motivated.

Motivation isn’t usually a problem when a person is new to the company, or there’s something new in the office. A new couch or bean bag. A new foosball table. Or even a new coffee maker.  However, over time and repetition of the daily work tasks, the novelty fades and so is motivation. That’s when you start having problems. Your team may not be as enthusiastic or as productive. You’re late. Your output suffers. Everyone’s easily irritated.

So, how do you motivate your employees?

How do you keep the enthusiasm alive? Well, there’s nothing more fun than playing games. When you play a game, time seems faster. Remember that moment when you got hooked on World of Warcraft? You didn’t realize the sun had already set. You thought it was just noon time. When we play a game, we reach the “flow” state, the “in the zone” moment. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a Psychology professor and who’s famous in the positive psychology industry, coined the term.

You don’t have to spend your food budget on a ball pit next month in order to create a gaming environment in your office.

Just by incorporating a little bit of super-simple games in the workplace, it’s possible for everyone to be more enthusiastic and pleasant to work with.

Now, before purchasing any software or office equipment in order to start playing in the office, there’s one crucial thing you need to ask yourself first:

What motivates your employees?

Each individual is wired differently. Others are motivated by monetary rewards, while others are motivated by intrinsic rewards.

A quick way to learn more about your team is to ask them to take the 5 Love Language Test. This test is actually for couples. However, Marie Forleo, author and entrepreneur, brilliantly adapted this couple’s test to her own team. For instance, if you have an employee whose love language is Words of Affirmation, you might want to create an environment that supports this need. If you’re not a very vocal person yourself, you could email your words of affirmation. Write it on a note, insert it in a piece of chocolate and give it to your teammate. The words could be as simple as, “Thanks for all your hard work.”

While this works better in a small team, it can still do wonders for a team with 20 people. The key here is to ensure that rewards should not be limited to material things. It should be a combination of words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts and quality time. 


Here’s Marie Forleo’s video to give you more details on how she adapts this strategy for her team:

Now that you know what floats your team’s boats, it’s time to create a gamified workplace.


Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net/KROMKRATHOG



If the team needs to meet a daily output, let’s say a certain amount of phone calls made, placing a Leaderboard in the office is a good way to put a little bit of fun in an otherwise mundane task. Personally, I try harder when a social game has a Leaderboard. This is most especially true if the game is played by a lot of my friends. For instance, when I got addicted to Candy Crush, I loved seeing where I was on the map and how I did at each stage compared to my friends.

To-do Apps

Now, if you don’t want to go old school, there are plenty of tools that you could use to keep track of everyone’s score. To-do apps like Todoist allows you to create projects and share it with a team. All the tasks are scored depending on its priority. The more tasks you accomplish, the more points you get. This gives your team the feeling that you are progressing even when you’re working on a long-term project.

Fitness apps like RunKeeper can not only encourage fun competition, but it can also encourage your team to be more active. The app also has a Leaderboard. It tracks who in your circle of friends have been keeping active.

These are just super simple strategies to keep the fire alive in the office. If you think about it, committing to a job is like marriage. You need to find new ways to keep the spark alive. And it only works if both parties try.

What are some of the games you’ve tried playing in your office?