Taking a break and unwinding is not a luxury, but a necessity of the working cycle. We saw that working for 8, or even 9 hours straight is counterproductive. But how far can one go with entertainment during his lunch break before he goes too far? The limit exists, but the line that should not be crossed is a rather broad one and is anything but straight. Still, going too far is unacceptable, for the possible damages far outweigh the benefits.
The argument that “it’s my break, I’m on my time so I can do anything” is childish and irresponsible.
Just because we are on our break, it does not mean that we’ve been temporarily absolved of our responsibilities towards the company. A little bit of Solitaire or a good run through Minefield might be just what you need to unwind during the break. The games don’t even need to be limited to the Windows classics, but a problem can arise when those games get a little bit too advanced. Even if they are on their break, playing, say Battlefield 3 or Borderlands 2, it can seem unprofessional to your fellow colleagues and even more so to a business client that comes into the office for a meeting.
This is an unfair generalization but it’s a reality we need to accept. A manager is far less likely to scold an employee for fiddling around in a 16bit, Tetris-like game, than he is for doing it over a game with modern graphics. The low quality visuals give the game a sense of unimportance, of a trivial thing, even if, in fact, it can be far more addictive and time consuming that any “Battleduty Modern somethingsomething.”
There is however one scenario that leaves no room for doubt. Regardless of the technical quality of a video game, a large number of games installed is a clear sign that something is not right. The questions that instantly come to mind are “When does this person find the time for all these games?” and “Is this time subtracted from the working hours?”
To go around sneaking, all cloak-and-dagger style, checking everyone’s computer is out of the question. So is breathing down an employee’s neck during the break. The solution is a more subtle, business-like approach: a centralized network for your IT assets that is easy to monitor and control. This way, you can know exactly what everyone has on their computer and how it’s used.