Insight August 22, 2017

Child’s Play Helps Adults Build Stronger Teams


Hand throwing dice on board game

By Trish McLaughlin, Senior Copywriter

If you want employees to play well together, give them more opportunities to – literally – play well together. From law firms and hospitals, to factories and corporate cubicles, encouraging employees to play board games together can actually build trust and improve communication and cooperation.

In her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, game designer Jane McGonigal pinpoints the benefits. She believes that playing games can tap into employee dynamics, emotions, and talent in a way that traditional work cannot.

Consider what employees can receive from a game experience that they may be missing from their daily work:

  • Immediate feedback on their performance
  • A reward system not based on money
  • Structure and a well-defined set of rules
  • Equal opportunity or the absence of favoritism
  • Support and encouragement from team members
  • Opportunities to lead and solve problems
  • And, ideally, depending on the game, a collaborative process rather than a competitive one 

No Fuss, Just Fun.

Introducing employees to workplace board games can be easy. We recently sent an email to employees to announce an upcoming board game lunch. It urged employees to sign up using an online spreadsheet and bring their lunch on game day.

When the day came, games started at noon and ended at 1:00 p.m. More than half of the agency joined the fun.

To help things run more smoothly:

  • Organizers provided rules and instructions in advance
  • Each game had a host who guided players through a sample round
  • Games required collaboration and moved quickly

infernites played Codenames, Fuse (collaborative version), Coup, and Catch Phrase. The winners earned bragging rights – until the rematch.

Have you had a positive experience playing games in your workplace? Email us at to tell us about it!