Image: iStockphoto/Tero Vesalainen

Eighty percent of people have played games at work approximately 2.5 times a week, on average, losing just 50 minutes of total productivity, a new study finds. Surprisingly, managers averaged more time per week gaming with nearly one in 10 saying they played a game during an in-person meeting, the study by gaming company found.

The study broke down gaming by generation: 86% of millennials said they had played a game during working hours, followed by 76% of Gen X, and 64% of baby boomers.

Some 96% said they had played a mobile game, while 33% had played a PC game at work, the study said. Thirty-four percent played games remotely over four days a week, while 23% played them in the office, the study revealed.

Not only did managers and supervisors join in on the action, but they were more likely than their subordinates to engage in at-work gaming, according to the study. These higher-ups even spent longer, on average–54 minutes every week–playing games when they should have been working.

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“We’re all trying to keep our mental health in check as we adjust to new ways of living and working while coping with the harsh realities and unspoken anxieties that accompany a global pandemic,” said, adding that gaming while working offers “a midday escapism. The ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy usually means you’ve got to work hard first to earn your play later. But in the American workplace, the two might be happening simultaneously–to the benefit of both employee and employer.”

While only 40% of respondents admitted to gaming when they were supposed to be working, 53% admitted extending a break to keep gaming, according to the study. Additionally, 21% of respondents also admitted watching a Twitch stream during the workday.

The study also found that remote workers were over two times as likely to play games during work calls and during video meetings.

One in three said it helped them with their productivity.

“With so many employees working remotely now, these findings are particularly timely and interesting,” said Tori Rubloff, a spokesperson for, in a statement. “Since many in-person meetings have gone virtual, these findings show that while employees were gaming frequently on the clock before, remote work may make this even more commonplace.”

Findings by game and gender

Candy Crush Saga was the most played mobile game (41%) followed by Angry Birds (33%) and Words With Friends (30%). The most popular game played on a PC was Solitaire (17%) followed by Minecraft and Fortnite (both at 15%).

More men played Angry Birds (36%) and Candy Crush Saga (34%), while more women played Candy Crush Saga (50%) and Words With Friends (38%).

Further, the study noted that “even though these games can be discreetly played on a mobile phone, 22% of women played Solitaire on their computers, while just 16% of men took the same risk to play Counter-Strike. In general, work stress is thought to weigh more frequently on men. Perhaps they’re not taking sufficient game breaks in the way women are.”

The impetus for playing games during working hours was that respondents were bored (57%); to pass the time (51%); and because they completed their work (46%).
Remote workers were even more likely to feel their work wasn’t challenging enough and relied on games for stimulation, the study said.

The upside

The majority of workers said they experienced positive benefits as a result of gaming during work, for example, 80% of in-office workers said they felt more relaxed, and 54% said that games alleviated the afternoon slump. Another 48% overall, said feelings of creativity and burnout were both positively impacted by gaming at work. More than one in five even compared gaming to coffee, saying their focus was improved by games.

Other benefits cited included productivity, the ability to problem-solve, and even job satisfaction.

“In light of these findings, one could argue that gaming is filling in the gaps that are often inherent in an eight-hour workday,” said. “Previous research has already demonstrated the amount of unnecessary time chewed up by the 40-hour workweek and our study has now revealed how some of that time is being filled.”

The survey of 1,000 full-time workers was conducted in March, said.

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