Yes, that’s right, you can now play games at work, all from the Microsoft Teams interface. But it’s more than a little glee, as Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft Teams VP, explains.
According to Herskowitz’s post on the Microsoft 365 Blog (opens in new tab)interaction through play is designed to address some of the biggest challenges of the hybrid workplace, including “struggling to build trust, build connections, and improve team morale.”
While gaming may not be a traditional approach to workplace team building, available research shows (opens in new tab) does suggest that it can have a positive impact on relationships with colleagues.
The post cites research claiming that employees saw a 20% increase in productivity after participating in “traditional team building activities”.
Developed with the help of an Xbox division, the new Games for Work app can host up to 250 players in a single session. Somewhat refreshing in this day and age is the fact that the available games will be ad-free.
From launch, Microsoft is promoting four games, each with their own educational spin. IceBreakers, a variation on “this or that,” presents two options for a question designed to facilitate communication, while Minesweeper is intended to leverage collaboration and problem solving.
Also included in the new Games for Work suite as part of Microsoft’s collaboration software are Wordament and Solitaire Collection, along with survey tools Polly and Kahoot!, which the company describes as “social apps.”
For now, Games for Work will be rolled out to Microsoft Teams Enterprise and Education customers as a limited pilot project, collecting data on how it is used before considering a wider public rollout.