Accountants Who Play Together, Stay Together
Every morning, a Nomad accountant lifts their pencil—or maybe a pen, if they’re really feeling confident—and gets to work. No accountant is an island, of course, so when the task gets too difficult, they pass it off to someone else in the pod, like a baton in a relay race.
Round and round it goes, each accountant filling it in little by little until it’s complete. And it (almost) always is. There’s no strategy meeting, shared document or email thread about it, but every accountant knows the name of the game: there’s gonna be another one tomorrow. And they only get tougher as the week goes on.
Obviously, we’re talking about crossword puzzles.
Outside the Box
At first glance, having a whole accounting team dedicate a chunk of their day to the crossword puzzle seems like a harmless distraction at best. However, unlike the ample other ways we may waste time at work, games like crossword puzzles keep us intellectually stimulated. They get our creative juices going in the morning, and help us recharge when we need a break later. Accountants and words may not be natural bedfellows, but creativity is often spurred by a refreshing change of pace. (Coffee doesn’t hurt, either.)
Be it the crossword, Sudoku, Scrabble, chess or checkers, the name of the game isn’t important. Games provide us with a safe, fun environment to nurture a culture of collaboration. That way, the building blocks of chemistry and communication are firmly in place when the real work begins. To wit, we’d rather have the intangibles ironed out over a crossword puzzle than a project on a tight deadline.
By playing games, we can also learn about the traits and personalities of our team members in a different context. For instance, if the new guy at work doesn’t seem cool, it might be because he’s, you know, at work. Games provide a much more natural, pressure-free environment to network, socialize and see people for who they are: their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, preferences, etc. This, in turn, leads to better communication, work efficiency, and understanding.
The field of industrial-organizational psychology may have more to say on this matter, but we can independently confirm that games are fun. That’s…why we play them. And if we’re having fun and enjoying ourselves, that certainly bodes well for office morale, motivation, and productivity.
One Last Thing
Once a month, the New York Nomad office gathers after hours to play Settlers of Catan. Removed from the workday, the game becomes a social affair, as two hour strategy board games tend to be, and encourages networking among employees who might not cross paths otherwise. Many in the office participate, including our CEO, Jonathan, whose participation is indicative of the larger culture at Nomad, a startup built on relationships.
And also, presumably, it’s a fun game to win.