If you were to come to our office around 1:30 pm on any day of the week, you might be surprised to find the team half-way through a game of “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”. We aren’t procrastinating, we’re in the middle of a very beneficial, productivity-boosting, team-building gaming session. Most software developers are probably no strangers to video games, but they may not play them during work hours. Here at Heed, we understand that there are numerous benefits to gaming in the office.

The game we most enjoy playing in the office is CS:GO, a game where success is heavily reliant on communication. It provides the perfect opportunity for us to split into teams and de-stress for 20 minutes in the afternoon, while also strengthening our inter-personal skills. The nail-biting moments of competition are great at getting the heart rate up for a few minutes, which is sometimes well-needed when working at a desk.

The need for communication within CS:GO naturally spurs team building; each group works together to storm the site and defuse the bomb, covering each other and calling out enemy positions. New bridges can form between employees who would otherwise rarely work or spend time together, and new workplace relationships and friendships can blossom. Gaming helps us build a more unified, company-wide team.

There are also many mental benefits to gaming – it increases your ability to make important decisions quickly, helps you understand your teammate’s strengths and weaknesses and use them appropriately, and even helps you learn to deal with failure. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive also has its own economic system during the rounds of the game: if you do well, you get more money and you can buy better weapons and armour in subsequent rounds. The opposite is also true.

Since we started playing CS:GO at the office I have found myself talking to team members I wouldn’t normally get to see much, which is awesome. Playing in a team of players from different departments really brings the company closer together, plus I feel energised for the rest of the day after the heat of battle.

Oli Gomez (The OG) – Senior Graphic Designer

This economy system forces teams to stay focused on their teammate’s progress as well as their own. Teammates must rely on each other, helping one another by splitting their own money to buy weapons for team members, or successfully communicating with your team to go for an “eco” round (where the team operates in a low-cost manner in the current round, to allow for a higher budget for the next round). These systems can help train employees for the business world when the team’s money becomes real and important financial decisions will impact the business.

During our gaming sessions at Heed, we also keep a record (for those who want it) of individual scores from each match. This allows everyone to see their own progress, and compare their performance in various situations, different teams and maps. The leader-board gives us a healthy sense of competition, as the players fight for the top spot, adding to the social aspect of gaming in the office.

Some of Team Heed’s stats from our current season

At Heed, we’ve found a significant boost in productivity since we started including gaming in our daily routine. Our employees come off the back of a de-stressing mental workout feeling re-energised to continue with the day. The mood in the office is boosted, and the team is closer than ever before – the true beauty of office gaming is that all the benefits come organically and totally unforced, as everyone has so much fun while they play.

Written by: Ryan Forsdick – Software Developer