29 Jun 2020
Can The Gaming World Teach Us About Remote Work?
Can the same collaboration in the gaming world be replicated in a working environment? Adam Berry, Remotely Founder covers his personal experience and what we might see in the future of work.
After selling my IT and animation colleges, I had a few months with not a lot to do. I filled my time playing my favourite game, PUBG. While building squads with players around the world and developing connections to people I would never see in real life, it occurred to me – why can’t I work this way?
It’s undeniable that the video game industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. This has only been enhanced by the Covid-19 crisis as isolation leads us to look for ways to connect with others and decrease our stress levels.
To get an idea of just how big gaming has become, here’s a few statistics from the 2020 Gaming Industry Report.
By 2020, players will spend USD 4.5 billion on immersive gaming. It is 20 times more enjoyable and convenient than traditional alternatives.
More than 1 billion people around the world now stream games over the internet each month.
The global gaming industry is expected to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 12% during the forecast period 2020-2025.
The mental image of gamers as young adult males in their parent’s basement is out of date. Those gamers have grown up. Today the average age of a gamer is 35 years old, nearly half are female, and there are currently 2.5 billion gamers in the world.
This points to a massive shift in consumer behavior and an enthusiastic acceptance of gaming as part of our lives. Online gaming creates an atmosphere where players bond, develop skills and strategies and solve problems. We build communities based on collaboration, creativity and communication, all with the freedom to be ourselves.
With the development of Remotely, we aim to take what we’ve learned from the world of gaming to the world of remote work.
Build teams and communicate
Approaching remote work from a gaming perspective immediately allows us to eliminate the feeling of isolation and bring teams together. Being able to see a physical representation of your teammates and communicate instantly and naturally is a critical component to building solid teams, no matter how geographically far apart.
While we have tools for remote communication, to feel connected we need a visual layer. The barrier of effort to scheduling Zoom calls, gauging whether the size of your issue is worthy of a call or email, and the amount of time wasted typing instead of having a short conversation all inhibit our natural communications.
In Remotely, you will see visual representations of your teammates as well as icons associated with what they are working on. You can get an awareness of whether they are too busy to chat, the same as you would if you were located in the same office. Their presence feels real, and you can see their actual status.
Collaborate on a level playing field
One of the great things about gaming is that it is an equalizer. Whole new environments are created that none of us have experienced. Therefore, there are no experts. No one knows the rules. This leads to more open collaboration.
Remotely is set in a world of space exploration. The avatars all wear spacesuits. Seeing your team as astronauts all wearing the same outfit (with personal modifications), means everyone is represented equally. The whole group is thrust into a new situation which levels the playing field and brings teams together in a way you couldn’t accomplish in an office. It empowers those who may not normally speak up to contribute without feeling anxiety.
Connect and empathise
The human brain does not distinguish between virtual reality and actual reality – both are realities. The experience you have in a game is as significant as real life. We can get to know our teammates and see that we have more in common than perhaps we had thought. This creates empathy, enabling us to form connections with each other.
An apt example is in our own team’s use of Remotely. One of our staff members is located overseas and prior to using Remotely, I had talked to her over the phone maybe 3 times in the last year. Through Remotely I now have the ability to see when she’s working and walk over to say hello and ask how her day is. Within the first week of using Remotely I discovered that she had been commuting two hours each way to an office. She also revealed that she cares for her ill mother. Regular social interactions allowed us to connect in ways that didn’t occur over an email or on a phone call.
A smart future
Our Creative Director Kenny Roy sees Remotely as a place where people can “reconnect – or connect for the first time – and throw themselves into the immersion while having fun with it.”
In the near future, he says, “Remotely becomes smart.” It will become aware of your workday habits and how it relates to others’ habits, naturally bringing together avatars. For example, imagine if one person makes spreadsheets and the other then turns those into graphs. Remotely will automatically start placing your avatars near each other when the work handover usually happens. This creates a flow around the process, so you don’t start your spreadsheets, answer some emails, and go to lunch before handing it off to your coworker.
The workday becomes more efficient, built around your habits.
Designed for everyone
The world’s 2.5 billion gamers will easily immerse themselves in the world of Remotely. What about the people who don’t game?
“If you can use a mouse, you can use Remotely,” Kenny says. Communicating is as easy as walking up to someone in an office and starting to speak.
Try Remotely for free and start using the platform of gaming to bring your remote team closer together.