If you love gaming but don’t love work, here’s a bit of good news. You can use the principles of game design and gamification to turn your work into a game.

That’s precisely what big businesses are beginning to do. Enterprises have been captivated by gamification for the past few years, and more and more businesses continue to follow suit.

Gamification: The application of gameplay to other activities.  

Professional service firm Deloitte predicts that in 2015 25% of all re-engineered business processes will incorporate gamification mechanics.

Businesses around the world have begun to use gamification in order to increase employee motivation and to train new employees. Research has shown that training games and simulators are significantly more effective than traditional literary training materials.

Gamification has also helped to increase employee satisfaction. The RMH franchise group runs over 130 restaurants across the U.S. Their employee turnover rate had been exceeding 30%. To turn the situation around, RMH introduced their employees to gamification via the Bee Block gamified website.

The Bee Block gamified website works like a sim. It allows employees to create profiles and teaches them how to sell more and how to get promoted. Employees can log-in and participate in contests. After a few short months of using gamification, RMH observed significant improvements in turnaround. RMH has now incorporated the program into all of its restaurants.

But you don’t need to work for RMH to take advantage of gamification. You can quickly use the principles of game design in your own life. You can make work more fun and improve your motivation levels by just using a little game design theory. Here’s how.

How to use gamification to make work more fun

1: Set an objective: No game is complete without an objective. Decide the one thing you want to achieve above all else. Got your aim in mind?

2: Determine which behaviours affect your goal: Identify what you’re doing right now and how your behaviour is affecting your success.  For instance, let’s say you want to complete a novel (I’m choosing this objective as I’m currently working on my second novel over at PMHarrison.com).

3: Decide what needs to change: Identify what you need to do and how you need to act in order to succeed. For instance, to complete my novel I need to get off Facebook, start reading more books in my genre (Young Adult Fantasy / Sci Fi), and do background research.

4: Create a point-score system. For instance, if you want to write a novel, create a system that will give you points for writing, reading, editing, and for doing all the other things you need to do to achieve your goal. For example, I’ll give myself 10 points for every YA novel I read, 20 for every hour I spend writing, and a bonus 15 points every time I finish a chapter.

5: Decide on some rewards that you’ll give yourself when you reach certain point scores. In other words: decide what you’ll get when you level up. Using my own system from above, I could reward myself with some candy every time I earn 50 points, at 1000 points I could take the next day off, 5000 points I’d treat myself to a day away somewhere, and so on. Create rewards that will motivate you.

6: Get started. If you chose the right rewards you’ll already want to start. You’ll want to get those points in order to get to the reward.

You can probably see how this relates to games. Games constantly work off of a process of action / reward. I wrote an entire feature article about the process of action and reward in game design for 360-Gamer (one of the top UK based monthly magazines) a couple of years back. I used what I learnt from that article to use action and reward mechanics in my own life. Thanks to my gameplay-inspired life I was able to motivate myself to lose weight and tone up very quickly.

The principle of action  / reward is constantly at work in gameplay. Everything you do in a game is either completing an action or getting a reward. You beat someone online, you move up the ranks. You complete a level, you level-up. You kill a boss, you get their weapon.

Repeat the same process in your work. Decide an action and a reward, then complete the action and get the reward. It’s simple, but there’s a lot of neuroscience that goes into this process. You’ll find that when you do this you feel much more motivated and that your work becomes more fun.

Give it a shot. You’ll find you level-up in your school / degree / career pretty darned quickly.


Categories: gaming

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *