Gaming bestows benefits beyond that rush of immediate gratification; you may be surprised to know it’s also enhancing your employability.
Prior to COVID-19, people were already talking plenty about their “work” and “life” buckets – how to keep productivity and play in balance – even separate from one another. Now, it’s safe to say the pandemic has intertwined the two forever.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: In fact, many of the skills you’ve likely picked up during play have been shown to improve skills and performance in the workplace. Because of COVID-19 lockdown orders and the pandemic’s impact on employment, gaming’s popularity has grown considerably in the first half of 2020. The good news is if you’ve been gaming more often during quarantine, chances are you’ll be especially ready to nail your next interview. In fact, every time you’ve picked up your console, you’ve learned more about how to adapt, learn and refine essential soft skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.
For our Skills Revolution 2.0 Robots Need Not Apply report, we surveyed 20,000 employers across 42 countries on the impact of automation on the workforce. What we found: Soft skills are in high demand in the workplace, especially for employers eyeing an unpredictable economic future. And there is rising demand too for relevant skills from recent research of What Workers Want, Post Covid Report, they are, incidentally, also the most difficult skills to find and train employees on.
When it comes to sought-after workplace skills, gaming can be a game-changer. Here’s a list of skills you may have developed in your downtime:
Improved Critical Thinking
Strategy and racing games like World of Warcraft and Mario Kart require you to work out which approaches will progress you to the next level. What motivates and engages you helps you hone your ability to make inferences and think systemically about solving the game. This sharpens your judgment and your approach to problem-solving, decision making (weighing up pros and cons of different tactics) and strategic thinking.
Increased Capacity for Collaboration
With the introduction of new formats like massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), modern gaming is shifting from an individual to a social experience. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend because, for many during the pandemic, gaming has been the only way to “meet” friends and develop proactive social skills. In multiplayer games, you must work together with other players to win, enhancing your ability to collaborate remotely. Plus, these types of games often inspire IRL meetups and hangouts as well as improved relations with peers, family members or your community. This can translate to better working relationships with colleagues.
Strengthened Communication Skills
Your communication skills also get a workout in multiplayer games. In virtual environments, you can test and learn different communication styles. Players of Second Life, for example, where users build parallel personas for an online world, have demonstrated an improved ability to adapt their conversational style depending on the situation.
Enhanced Your Creativity
Sandbox games that let you roam free and do your own thing (such as Minecraft and Terraria) are linked to enhanced creativity. If you play these games, you may have better visual-spatial skills – the ability to envision movement of objects in space – important for careers in science and engineering.
Today’s job market is unprecedented and unpredictable. What we do know is that skills like teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving are needed now more than ever. So the next time you or your kids enjoy a favorite game on the nights or weekends, don’t think of it as wasted time. You may just be developing the skills you need to be a future-ready employee.