Gaming Enters the Workplace. . . . As a Productivity Tool

Gaming is coming to a workplace near you.  And, based upon its description in a recent New York Times piece, it may be an important boost for productivity, while not all that much fun:

BetterWorks makes office software that blends aspects of social media, fitness tracking and video games into aModernTimes system meant to keep employees more engaged with their work and one another. With the software, employees and their bosses set long- and short-term goals, and, over time, log their progress on a digital dashboard that everyone in their company can see and comment on.

A critic might describe it as a happy, white-collar spin on an old idea — workplace efficiency — that used to be performed by punch clocks and assembly lines. But [venture capitalist John Doerr], who has instilled similar concepts in many of the tech companies he has invested in, is betting that the same ideas will be adopted far beyond Silicon Valley.

“I think we’re going to see more and more systems in this field of quantified work, or people science, that are going to make the most valuable resource that we have — which is our team — more effective,” Mr. Doerr said in an interview in his firm’s San Francisco satellite office.

Gaming technology is used to create metrics for individual and team performance and then to post the metrics in scoreboards or dashboards that are available company-wide.  The article cites an example of similar technology used in the trucking industry:

. . . .Over the last two decades, the industry has used GPS and other technologies to measure how fast drivers are going and how suddenly they brake, with the goal of getting goods delivered quickly but not so quickly that drivers waste gas.

To make drivers more efficient, companies post scoreboards in the break rooms or mail bonus checks to spouses so that they get competitive pressure from home as well as work.

People science, that’s got a nice ring to it, eh?  The full story is here.

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