A recent poll carried out by email security and web filtering solutions provider, SpamTitan Technologies, has found that 80% of businesses surveyed (global sample) believe allowing workplace gaming costs money. Companies claim that distracted employees using social networking and online gaming during work hours are not carrying out their roles effectively and leave the company vulnerable to attack from malware and viruses which exceeds the potential benefits of a less stressed workforce .
Recent studies suggest allowing employees to play computer games outside of work hours, i.e. at lunch, or during break times is beneficial and encourages co-operation and social bonding. This research shows that employees feel more relaxed, confident, energetic, and productive, concluding that gaming should be allowed in the workplace. However for this to be efffective companies need to have an internet usage policy and security solutions in place which will deal with the IT security and cost implications which includes:
– Greater demand on bandwidth usage
– Internet threats such as viruses, spyware and phishing
– Hacking incidents, and the consequent data and content security risks
– Time spent by IT managers dealing with these issues
The repercussions of IT security breaches are extensive, and the cost for individual companies can be potentially huge as Sony recently experienced. According to research from Rasmussen College’s School of Technology & Design, when Sony’s gaming services were hit, the collective hacking incidents and subsequent network outages cost the company an estimated $6 billion in costs and affected more than 100 million user accounts. Sony is a large company with substantial resources, smaller businesses are even more vulnerable when it comes to attacks.
“As the research suggests gaming at work can be productive if handled carefully with rules and usage regulations in place combined with software installations to protect the IT infrastructure,” said Ronan Kavanagh, SpamTitan Technologies CEO. “If companies allow their employees to have access to online computer games at work they need to be sure to use a web filtering tool, like WebTitan, to manage the time allocated for gaming, monitor the bandwidth demands and block dangerous sites.”
 Melbourne University study shows employees who could access social media from work were between 9% (Melbourne study) and 33% more productive than employees whose access was restricted.