Connect with your coworkers through play? Yes, please.
People everywhere are struggling to build trust, create connections, and improve team morale. Why not play games to help? Playing games with coworkers has a powerful ability to foster relationships and collaboration. Although some may consider games at work a distraction, the benefits are plentiful. In fact, according to a study by Brigham Young University, teams who played short video games together were 20 percent more productive than those who participated in more traditional team-building activities.1
Games for Work app
Bring your team together through Microsoft Teams.
With the move to remote and hybrid work, our social capital has weakened, impacting cross-group collaboration and employee retention.2 In fact, over 40 percent of leaders consider building relationships to be the greatest challenge in hybrid or remote environments, according to the Work Trend Index.3 Games can be an easy way to connect and build trust with our teammates. Along with our morning caffeine, sometimes we need a brain teaser or some friendly competition to get relationships going, infuse levity into our workday, and build a sense of community.
Build work connections through play
Today, I am excited to introduce the Games for Work app,* developed by Microsoft Casual Games, an Xbox Games Studio.** Now, you can easily add a game in the context of where work happens: in Microsoft Teams meetings. Choose from a selection of favorite casual games including Microsoft IceBreakers, Wordament, Minesweeper, and Solitaire—all easy to play in quick, interactive, and multi-player versions (from 2 to 250 players). They are safe for work (verifiably “E” rated) and ad-free. To address the various needs of teams, each game within the app emphasizes a different element of team building.
“Over 3 billion people around the world play games, serving a crucial role in bringing people together – especially during these last few years,” said Jill Braff, General Manager of Integrations and Casual Games, Microsoft. “Games promote creativity, collaboration and communication in powerful and unique ways, and we can’t wait to see the how the Games for Work app on Microsoft Teams inspires productivity and helps foster connections in the workplace.”
Encourage new teams to communicate and learn about each other with ease. It’s a variation on this or that—pineapple or pepperoni on your pizza? It’s so simple and intuitive, you can’t help but answer the question. It can also spur lively and, at times, passionate conversation to foster connections and build team morale.
The most cooperative game of the bunch. This game encourages individuals to come together to solve problems and accomplish objectives quickly. Does this sound like something your team could use?
Exercise your brain and create some healthy team competition over a word challenge. Wordament easily accommodates large groups, designed to play with up to 250 participants.
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
And fan favorite Microsoft Solitaire Collection provides a head-to-head competition encouraging group participation. This might sound like an oxymoron—the multi-player capability and enhanced spectator mode allows everyone, whether actively playing that round or not, to follow the action and engage with the players on-screen. It’s like calling out the answers while watching a game show or assisting a friend with a word puzzle.
The Games for Work app integrates directly into the flow of the workday—once the app is added, you and your co-workers can seamlessly enjoy the experience inside Teams meetings, on desktop and mobile. With the safety and security of Microsoft, you can access all four games for free today.
Explore other social apps in Teams
In addition to the Games for Work app, there are more apps in Teams to help strengthen your team’s relationships, boost productivity, and, of course, have fun!
- Polly in Teams: Run live polls, surveys, quizzes, trivia, and Q&A for an instant, live engagement. Get hands raised, minds activated, and creative juices flowing. Put your team at ease and encourage candid responses and lively conversation. Polly can be used in a Teams chat, meeting, or channel. Watch How to use Polly in Microsoft Teams to learn more.
- Kahoot! in Teams: Launch a live game to bring people together and facilitate team learning. For those colleagues that can’t join a live game or are on the go, assign a challenge that is self-paced, with questions and answers displayed on players’ devices. You can even track progress with a leaderboard for some friendly competition. Kahoot! can be used in a Teams chat or channel.
You can expect more apps powered by our ecosystem of partners to come in the next calendar year.
Check out the new Games for Work app designed to bring people together in Microsoft Teams meetings by sparking conversation, creativity, and community through play. Please send us your feedback—these games will continue to evolve, and we will add new games based on your recommendations.
*Available for Microsoft Teams Enterprise and Education customers only; if not available in your Teams app, reach out to your IT admin for support.
**Games for Work is a pilot app and its performance as well as feedback from users will influence the casual game roadmap in Microsoft Teams; the current Microsoft Teams gaming policy is unchanged until we complete the pilot.
1Study: Collaborative video games could increase office productivity, Todd Hollingshead, Brigham Young University. January 28, 2019.
2Four ways to rebuild your team’s social capital, Nicole Herskowitz, LinkedIn. May 20, 22.
3Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong? Work Trend Index Special Report, Microsoft. September 22, 2022.