“Stop playing with your phone,” the manager whispered sternly to the sales clerk. “You’re at work.”
That exchange happened in a well-known consumer electronics store, but it could be in just about any office, mine site or boardroom in the country: we know people are addicted to their devices.
The compulsive behaviour is encouraged by good design and gamification. Even if you don’t play ‘games,’ you’re likely under the spell. Twitter followers and retweet counters are the leaderboards. Facebook’s never-ending scroll is a slot machine of social capital, offering just enough randomness to keep us hooked.
Developers and social scientists have converged to create technology which rewards us for continuing to ‘play’, smacking around dopamine and serotonin receptors like so much crushed candy. Smart team managers are now seeing that same technological approach can also play into how to engage employees at work.
Writer for CNN Money, JP Mangalindan explained: “With ‘gamification,’ companies study and identify natural human tendencies and employ game-like mechanisms to give customers a sense that they’re having fun while working towards a rewards-based goal.”