While distributed work can help organizations save on real estate costs and hire from a more diverse talent pool, it can sometimes make it difficult for coworkers to connect and form relationships.
Platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been good for collaboration, but team-building and building closer relationships is still challenging. To inject a little bit more fun into meetings, Microsoft is launching the Games for Work app, a new tool that allows distributed teams to play games in Microsoft Teams.
According to Microsoft, users can play Microsoft IceBreakers, Wordament, Minesweeper and Solitaire in quick, interactive and multi-player versions, supporting up to 150 players. Each game within the app is designed to emphasize a different element of team building, the Redmond, Wash. tech giant says.
Jill Braff, general manager of integrations and casual games at Microsoft, says over 3 billion people globally play games, and gaming has been proven to help form relationships over the pandemic.
“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,” Braff says.
The Games for Work app is available for Microsoft Teams Enterprise and Education customers only. The app’s performance and feedback from users will influence the casual game roadmap in Teams, Microsoft says. The current Teams gaming policy is unchanged until the pilot is complete, Microsoft adds in a blog.
According to Microsoft, the Games for Work app integrates directly into the flow of the workday. Once added, coworkers can play games inside Teams meetings, on desktop and mobile.
In addition to other team-building apps, Microsoft says more apps powered by its partners will come in the next calendar year.
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