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Subject: For Reference - Email I Sent My Manager (and company VP) Regarding Gaming At Work rss

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J Boomhower
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Below is an excerpt from an email I sent my Manager today (who is a VP of the company) regarding playing board games during our lunch hours here at work. A few of us have been doing it for some time but, due to some recent lay offs, there have been concerns about continuing. What I wrote describes why I think it is even more important to continue playing in case any of you are looking to convince your companies of the same thing...worth a shot anyway...

"When we can, a few of us here take our lunch hour to play a card or board game. I have a fair collection and enjoy sharing my hobby with others. I have also found, since putting together games here at work, that it goes a long way to pull the stress out of a day or week and, at the same time, encourages critical thinking, conflict resolution and abstract problem solving. As we play both competitive and cooperative games, we also manage team building exercises and communication in there as well. I bring this to your attention because there has been, especially of late, a bit of paranoia and stress associated with the lunch hour gaming due to concerns regarding how management might feel about how our time is being used. I would like to, at least for this department, be able to allay those fears by talking to you about it and discussing the benefits of taking some of our work day to do this. Again, just throwing this by you so there is a bit of management notice and possibly approval. Other companies utilize ping pong tables, downtime areas, and other amenities for this purpose…we have simply chosen board gaming as our outlet. Let me know what you think and thanks, regardless, for listening (reading)."

Hope this can at least help some of you (and me) get (or keep) gaming in the workplace.

M
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Michael Weber
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Good mail, keep us informed on the outcome!
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Brian Homan
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I hope it works out for you. My friend and I were banned from playing games at work. Now I have to go out for lunch to the mall or hospital to be able to play. It's not the worst situation, but it would be nice to be able to have that time with my co-workers on site if we choose to.
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Einmal ist keinmal
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If you are doing it during the lunch hour, why is management having an issue with it to begin with?

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J Boomhower
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Sometimes it's an image thing. The idea of employees sitting about in a work environment laughing over a board and plastic pieces may seem unfit for the corporate image. That's my best guess though. Around here, it is more people worrying that they will be seen as less industrious and thereby closer to the ax. My opinion, as noted in the above, is that it actually does positive things for people in the workplace, even beyond morale. As a programmer, I can't think of any better way to get my head around an obnoxious bug than to clear it for an hour doing other kinds of creative and critical thinking.
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Stu Jones
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We actually have board game meet ups at our office every other week. It's after-hours and we're able to use the conference room. We've never gotten any (serious) flack for it (other than friendly jabs from other employees who don't understand the hobby). Granted it's after hours and not daily in the break room; but I guess if it would be acceptable, that may be a moot difference.

We simply make sure that we're proactive about keeping things clean and respecting anyone who may be working late and such. We kind of adjust daily to lunch time availability, and it's different for everyone, so daily lunch games aren't really feasible; but man, sometimes I wish I could just throw down against someone at Netrunner midway through the day...

Regardless, I agree with your assessment, and the benefits our being able to game in-office have are far greater than others outside the group may realize. At the very least, your approach to it should be respected as being a very professional attempt at preventing a conflict, and I hope it works out in your favor.
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Rick Rodrick
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Congratulations on taking this step. In a time when so much management in organizations is done by fear and intimidation it is refreshing that you suggest to your employers that board gaming during lunch hour added something positive to the work experience. I'm sure there are plenty of people on BGG that envy the fact that you get a lunch hour. Enlightened companies know the value of an activity like gaming for stress relief and relationship building but far too few organizations are enlightened these days.
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Brad Miller
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rrodrick wrote:
Congratulations on taking this step. In a time when so much management in organizations is done by fear and intimidation it is refreshing that you suggest to your employers that board gaming during lunch hour added something positive to the work experience. I'm sure there are plenty of people on BGG that envy the fact that you get a lunch hour. Enlightened companies know the value of an activity like gaming for stress relief and relationship building but far too few organizations are enlightened these days.


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Paul Amala
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If they have a problem with it, is there a nearby library, coffee shop or restaurant that you could spend your lunch hour? Just pick games that fit into those constraints (time, space, etc.)
 
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Neil Brooks
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MhidDa wrote:
Below is an excerpt from an email I sent my Manager today (who is a VP of the company) regarding playing board games during our lunch hours here at work. A few of us have been doing it for some time but, due to some recent lay offs, there have been concerns about continuing. What I wrote describes why I think it is even more important to continue playing in case any of you are looking to convince your companies of the same thing...worth a shot anyway...

"When we can, a few of us here take our lunch hour to play a card or board game. I have a fair collection and enjoy sharing my hobby with others. I have also found, since putting together games here at work, that it goes a long way to pull the stress out of a day or week and, at the same time, encourages critical thinking, conflict resolution and abstract problem solving. As we play both competitive and cooperative games, we also manage team building exercises and communication in there as well. I bring this to your attention because there has been, especially of late, a bit of paranoia and stress associated with the lunch hour gaming due to concerns regarding how management might feel about how our time is being used. I would like to, at least for this department, be able to allay those fears by talking to you about it and discussing the benefits of taking some of our work day to do this. Again, just throwing this by you so there is a bit of management notice and possibly approval. Other companies utilize ping pong tables, downtime areas, and other amenities for this purpose…we have simply chosen board gaming as our outlet. Let me know what you think and thanks, regardless, for listening (reading)."

Hope this can at least help some of you (and me) get (or keep) gaming in the workplace.

M

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David Janik-Jones
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We game at lunch all the time at my office (there are four hard-core boardgamers in the office and two semi-gamers), and get to use the main boardroom for a CEO-approved once-a-month game night. I might be lucky but that's how it is for us.
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CJ
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I'm surprised by the colloquial tone of the letter. I would have thought that if you can write so informally to management then you wouldn't have much to fear from their perceptions of your lunchtime pursuits...
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Dan Cristelli
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Good job...my workplace has always been okay with gaming at lunch.

It's nice to see another person from the Burlington area that games at lunch!
 
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J Boomhower
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I fear little myself. I have a good rapport with my manager and doubt very much he will express much concern with how we handle our lunches. I find it is better to be safe though. This is not an instance, or environment, where I would apply my normally utilized philosophy "It is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission". Plus, though I cut it out as it has little to do with anyone else making the attempt, I am also hoping to utilize a now empty nearby office for housing long standing games. This, in combination with gaining some piece of mind for those who are less confident, was my main goal.

Well, that I don't tend to change my tone, personality or language for any level of management...and somehow, it has only helped me along. Go figure.
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Kev.
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elgin_j wrote:
I'm surprised by the colloquial tone of the letter. I would have thought that if you can write so informally to management then you wouldn't have much to fear from their perceptions of your lunchtime pursuits...


Its America...... Conversational tone is fine in email to your boss. A personal meeting would have been best followed by ass covering email...whistle
 
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Joe Waller
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hipshot wrote:


Its America...... Conversational tone is fine in email to your boss. A personal meeting would have been best followed by ass covering email...whistle


Don't generalize this example to all of America. There are many jobs and bosses here where this would not go over well.

A few questions for the OP though: how truly important is this lunch hour gaming to you? Is it worth losing your job over? Is it worth being passed over for promotion for? Frankly, and I'm not trying to hate here, I don't buy much of what you're selling regarding the work benefits of an hours worth of games during lunch.
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Travis Dean
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Good luck and well formulated email. I hope it goes well and I too look forward to hearing of the results.
 
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quelf elf
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jwallerrocks wrote:
Frankly, and I'm not trying to hate here, I don't buy much of what you're selling regarding the work benefits of an hours worth of games during lunch.

You don't thin it's better than an hour of eating and gossipping?
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Samuel Hinz
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Dolus wrote:
Good luck and well formulated email. I hope it goes well and I too look forward to hearing of the results.


while critical thinking and whatnot might be overselling it. I certainly would not discount the stress release reasoning. you?
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Joe Waller
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quelf elf wrote:
jwallerrocks wrote:
Frankly, and I'm not trying to hate here, I don't buy much of what you're selling regarding the work benefits of an hours worth of games during lunch.

You don't thin it's better than an hour of eating and gossipping?


I think eating is important! Can't imagine anyone would be more productive when they're hypoglycemic all afternoon. Is eating and gossiping the only other option? I would say it's worse than spending 30 minutes of the lunch exercising or only spending 45 minutes on lunch and then getting back to work!
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J Boomhower
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It's okay that you aren't buying it, it's not really for sale. It's something I believe, not something I need anyone else to. I can see exactly where you are coming from but I don't agree. On average I work more than 40 hours a week, go in early, work from home at night and on the weekends so I use my lunch hour to counterbalance that. It doesn't hurt that my gaming time at home is drastically limited and being able to get together with other like minded adults in the middle of the day to relax is a plus. I can see the argument for some of the critical thinking, depending on your definition, but I don't see much argument for an increase in morale and improving working relationships. Plenty of business do work outings, lunches, dinners, weekends and so on. I'm not much for losing time with my family for getting to know my coworkers so this works all the better.

To counter other possibilities:

I have never needed 45 minutes to eat.
I don't find exercise in the middle of a work day the least bit relaxing (even if it was available on site)
I'm not much of a gossip.

Thanks for the counter opinion, the world would be infinitely more dull if we all agreed on everything (or anything really)
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Chad
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My thought on this email and thread - why poke the badger?
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Rich Keiser
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Sounds like you work for a suck-ass company with a horrible culture. Apart from the paycheck and some good co-workers, you may want to consider another venue to work.

MhidDa wrote:
Sometimes it's an image thing. The idea of employees sitting about in a work environment laughing over a board and plastic pieces may seem unfit for the corporate image. That's my best guess though. Around here, it is more people worrying that they will be seen as less industrious and thereby closer to the ax. My opinion, as noted in the above, is that it actually does positive things for people in the workplace, even beyond morale. As a programmer, I can't think of any better way to get my head around an obnoxious bug than to clear it for an hour doing other kinds of creative and critical thinking.
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Kev.
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[q= I would say it's worse than spending 30 minutes of the lunch exercising or only spending 45 minutes on lunch and then getting back to work! [/q]

LOL. I wonder what it would be like to have a lunch break, receive vacation time and actually get to use it with out being needed to be tied to email and or ph..?

Then again with so much unemployment maybe the US can hire more workers to work just a 40 hour week and take more vacation?!
 
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Justin B
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darthhugo wrote:
Sounds like you work for a suck-ass company with a horrible culture. Apart from the paycheck and some good co-workers, you may want to consider another venue to work.

MhidDa wrote:
Sometimes it's an image thing. The idea of employees sitting about in a work environment laughing over a board and plastic pieces may seem unfit for the corporate image. That's my best guess though. Around here, it is more people worrying that they will be seen as less industrious and thereby closer to the ax. My opinion, as noted in the above, is that it actually does positive things for people in the workplace, even beyond morale. As a programmer, I can't think of any better way to get my head around an obnoxious bug than to clear it for an hour doing other kinds of creative and critical thinking.


It depends on the comapany. If you work at a company that requires you to dress formal and you're playing games while clients that have multi-million dollar projects walking by you, it may not look good for the company. On the other hand, if the company allows you to dress casual or semi-formal and you're not around clients, they will probably be fine with it.


I know if I played games during my lunch break, I'd be fine (we RARELY have clients coming into the IT office). But if I worked outside of our office, we'd have clients or government representatives walking around and would likely be frowned on.
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