Picture this. You’ve found your dream job. You update your resume to include all the relevant skills and attributes the job requires. And you include a line – maybe even two – about your expertise in Modern Warfare/NBA 2k/Battlegrounds/Total War/FIFA. One more thing. That job you’re applying for isn’t as a game developer, nor is it in IT.
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You see, growing research suggests that the skills we pick up playing video games – as conscious players who actively strategise, rather than casual ones who may not focus on how they’re playing the game (just that they’re playing it) – can have massive benefits in the workplace.
So how can your epic dragon-slaying skills or ability to build a kick-arse city make you more effective at work? Glad you asked.
Video games can help you work collaboratively
In almost every industry, good teamwork is pretty much essential to getting the job done, so your ability to collaborate, listen, and pursue shared goals will be looked upon favourably by your bosses.
In many video games, you need to be a team player. If you don’t work together, you’ll end up blowing the mission or getting knocked out of contention before you’ve ever had a chance to warm up, so developing these skills – listening, talking, strategising and negotiating – will literally (in video games but figuratively in the workplace) keep you alive.
Playing multiplayer (aka team games) like Modern Warfare or No Man’s Sky can also help you build a sense of connectedness and community, which are super important elements to make you a better human, as well as a better employee.
Video games can help strengthen your brain
So can your knack for Grand Theft Auto, Animal Crossing or Call of Duty make you better than other workers in your field? Computer says yes. This 2019 study found that surgeons who, at some point in their lives, played video games for three hours per week were significantly better at performing certain procedures than docs who hadn’t.
Some games, like the iconic Super Mario 64, can even strengthen the part of your brain that deals with memory formation, spatial orientation, and strategic planning.
Video games can boost literacy and creative thinking
Gaming responsibly (ie. for reasonable lengths of time and with regular breaks) has been shown to have so many more positive effects.
Playing games could reverse cognitive decline, help develop your motor skills, reduce anxiety, boost resilience and even help you chill out when you’re feeling stressed (as long as you’re not playing violent games, which can cause your adrenaline to spike). They encourage you to think more creatively, especially when you’re under pressure (or alien attack). And they’ve been shown to up your literacy and communication skills too.
As long as you’re combining your gaming with plenty of fresh air, exercise and a healthy diet, the social and cognitive benefits from your favourite games will almost certainly help you kick goals in the workplace. It’s practically science.
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