Workplace Productivity: Keeping it fun with Mario Kart

At Precision Sample, nothing gets us out of our seats faster than hearing a coworker shout the word “circles” as they make their way to one of our conference rooms.  The first four people to make it to the conference room are the lucky few that get to spend the next fifteen minutes engaged in a rousing game of Mario Kart.  Thankfully, for all of us here at Precision Sample headquarters, we have several opportunities throughout each workday to take part in playing Nintendo’s go-kart style racing video game.

At this point you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Doesn’t this distract them from their work?” or “Isn’t it a little childish to be so excited to play a children’s video game?” To which I would respond “Surprisingly, no,” to the first question, and “Probably” to the second.  There have been numerous studies such as those described in Forbes, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic advocating for taking several breaks throughout your workday to enhance energy, focus, and creativity.  We’ve found that time spent playing Mario Kart provides us with all of those previously mentioned benefits and then some.  Allow me to delve deeper into each of these advantages:

  1. Boosting Energy: Fatigue throughout the workday is extremely prevalent in any industry.  Perhaps the coffee is wearing off, you’ve had too big of a lunch, or you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload.  Despite these energy-drainers being present throughout my workday, I’ve found that taking 15 minutes to play Mario Kart with my coworkers always leaves me feeling completely revamped.  The rush of intense, yet friendly, competition has each of us essentially flying off the walls with built up adrenaline by the end of each race.  This makes for great productivity once we get back to work!
  2. Increasing Focus:  It’s easy to transition into autopilot when you become too comfortable with the work you’re doing.  If you’re not careful, this can lead to making serious mistakes on important projects.  The version of Mario Kart we play offers 32 different courses to choose from so your brain is constantly having to adapt to different surroundings.  Spending just a short amount of time adjusting to different environments and figuring out shortcuts in game-play can easily transfer over to how you work.  In this way, Mario Kart helps us to maintain our attention and look at difficult projects in a new light.
  3. Building Team Bond: This is a HUGE benefit.  At the Denver office, we spend a lot of time working on individual projects.  Despite the fact that we’re in an open environment without cubicles, it’s easy to get sucked into communicating with coworkers solely through Slack messaging or emails.  Mario Kart is our opportunity to really talk with each other about our days, discuss current events in and out of the industry, and on occasion, scream at your coworker who threw a red shell at you.  These moments really help to make you feel like a member of a team, and overall, reduces turnover.

I feel obliged to say that we are not sponsored by Nintendo in any way, shape, or form.  Mario Kart has worked wonders for us at Precision Sample, but if you’re an old-school type of company, I’m sure a quick game of cards or a puzzle would provide your team with similar benefits!  The overarching point is to not only take breaks throughout your workday, but to spend these breaks participating in activities that help you think about problems in a creative and engaging way.

We’d love to hear back from you! What daily diversions does your office engage in to keep energy levels and workplace enjoyment high?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s