Tattoo or Taboo? 4 Reasons Why Employers Shouldn’t Care

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Where my inked people at? Holler at me!

I said, holler at me!

Oh. Sorry. I can’t hear you guys hollering at me over all my aunts and uncles going, “You’re going to regret that” and “You’re never gonna get a job with that” and “You know it’s permanent, right?”.

Surely, at some point in time, we’ve all entertained the thought of getting a tattoo. Maybe a super-meaningful quote on our ribcage, maybe a skull on our arm, or maybe even a full-back oriental piece!

Tattoos are—let’s face it—cool!

Continue reading “Tattoo or Taboo? 4 Reasons Why Employers Shouldn’t Care”

MVP OF THE WEEK 2015: ARE YOU SEEING TWO? IT’S JUST OUR… DOPPLEGANGER NINJA!

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Christopher was part of our tech team, acting as a software developer in his time here, working on Gametize’s platform and rule engines. However, Christopher did not limit himself to just that, and he did offer insight on creative design work as well.

 

Curious as to what a working environment and life in a tech startup company is like, Christopher applied for an internship with Gametize, whose work environment, he felt, made it easier for him to be more proactive. Gametize loosened the reigns and allowed him to freely learn more about software development.

Besides software development, which he’d signed up for, Christopher also learned many more things in his run with Gametize: things about the working environment, technicalities, himself…

Another role Christopher held was as our teammate Damon’s doppleganger, confusing both clients and fellow teammates alike with their scary likeness! Just another Gametize party trick.

At this current time, Christopher is finishing up his last year in NUS. Thank you for all the contributions you’ve made to Gametize, Christopher, and we wish you all the best!

MVP of the Week: Try keeping up with… Our Samba Ninja!

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Bendexter first came to know Gametize as a user and a backend admin of our platform. And, he first met our Keith as a client. Gametize and Keith both charmed him, and half-a-year later, Bendexter was working with Gametize again, this time not as a user, but as a developer.

During his time with Gametize, Bendexter worked on the analytics platform, managed projects, and assisted with business operations whenever required.

As a younger intern, Bendexter also often had fresher, newer ideas which he brought to the table. In this way, Bendexter not only contributed to Gametize technically, but also creatively.

Bendexter shows the same level of enthusiasm and skill in his other interests as well, such as: samba percussion, and sports.

He is currently working on an android application as part of his final year project in SMU, and then he’ll be heading off to Korea for an exchange program! Bon voyage Bendexter! Thank you for the contributions you’ve made to Gametize, and we wish you all the best!

Celebrate Halloween old-school style!

Halloween is right around the corner; this Saturday, in fact!

So, as a gamification business, do you know what we did?

That’s right; we made our very own Halloween game! This year, we’re going to celebrate Halloween old-school style! Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Chucky… They’re all fine and scary, but they weren’t our first monsters.

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Now, Count Dracula! That’s a monster to talk about! Along with The Mummy, and Frankenstein’s Monster! These are the monsters that set the horror scene ablaze in the early 1900s.

Modern technology has spoiled us so much so that we find it difficult to enjoy black-and-white films now. I mean, some of them don’t even have any background music, and the acting may be more dramatised than what we’re used to now.

But classics are classics for a reason, even if they’re hard to swallow. Books like The Great Gatsby or Lord of the Rings are almost impossible to get through, but they are classics nonetheless!

And, since one of the main points of gamification is to insert fun into things that would normally be considered not fun, that’s exactly what we’ve done: We’ve gamified our classic horror icons so you can learn about them, through games!

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Images taken from the mobile app.

Simply download our app ‘Gametize’, from the Apple app store or Google play store. Create an account, and search for ‘classicmonsters’.

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It’s available on web as well: http://gametize.com/game/classicmonsters

You can have dinner with Count Dracula, go for a swim with The Creature from Black Lagoon, or visit Wolfman’s Manor! Learn more about these monsters as you spend time with them. You’ll find out Frankenstein’s Monster’s true name, what The Mummy used to do before he was a mummy, and how to kill Count Dracula!

Of course, we’re not saying we can’t enjoy modern vampire stories or modern werewolf tales. Van Helsing (2004), The Wolfman (2010), The Mummy (1999)… These are great movie re-makes/adaptations as well!

It’s just nice to also give credit where it’s due, and to explore the origins of our favourite tales, isn’t it?

Have fun with these oldies, and let us know what you think!

MVP OF THE WEEK: SUPER-AWESOME AND SUPER-BLUR… SOTONG NINJA!

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Guangwen was with Gametize on a 14-week-long internship, and was part of the business operations team. He proved to be a highly-capable individual and, just on his second day, he was already tasked with creating mock-ups for business pitches.

In his time with Gametize, Guangwen accomplished a myriad of things: keeping the office clean and beautiful, looking out for the Gametize ninjas’ welfare, taking charge of logistics, taking charge of some projects as well!

However, Guangwen is not some super-robot with no flaws; we’re all humans after all. Guangwen admits that there are times when he can be “super-blur” — who buys just one slice of cake when asked to buy a birthday cake? Guangwen, apparently!

Guangwen is currently in his third year at SMU School of Information Systems, and we wish him all the best! Thank you, Guangwen, for all your contributions during your time with us!

Employee Happiness VS Employee Engagement

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“Employee happiness”.

It’s a term commonly thrown around now by supervisors and bosses and CEOs, but never by employees themselves. Ironic, isn’t it?

These days, to sell their companies, higher-ups claim that their employees are happy – no, no, it’s not like they’re lying or anything. They just genuinely believe their own employees are happy.

comic_1Why wouldn’t they be? They work in an air-conditioned office. They have a one hour lunch break. They must have great camaraderie with the people they work with everyday. And, come on, the pay isn’t all that bad! What’s there to complain about? Of course our employees are happy!

Yet, surveys conducted this year shows that a staggering 61% of employees surveyed said they’d thought of looking for employment elsewhere.

There you have it, folks – that’s your “employee happiness”.

Those companies technically aren’t wrong when they say their employees are happy. Their employees could be happy. They could be smiling and laughing and having the time of their life while working. But is it enough?

There’s discussion these days that, no, it isn’t. It isn’t enough to keep your employees happy. After all, they could be equally as happy going out with friends or staying at home to play video games. Happiness is so easily attainable these days that the workplace needs to offer more than just that.

“But the workplace does offer more! They pay you!” you say.

But is that what it’s come down to? Money? Is money enough, then?

Studies have shown that, no, it isn’t.

That old saying that everyone loves quoting: “money can’t buy happiness”? Apparently, it’s true. While everyone loves money and the things it can provide for us, it simply isn’t enough. Even pay raises have proven to be futile attempts in the quest to make employees want to keep working. Money is probably more effective than “employee happiness” but it still isn’t working as effectively as we want.

So, what is the problem here? They’re happy, they’re getting paid, but employees still think about leaving their jobs all the time.

Happiness and money is all fine and dandy, but the real selling point of a good company is engagement.

Employee happiness and employee engagement often get mixed up, and, even when the distinction is clear, it is unclear which should take priority.

So how about this radical notion of combining both, where employees live and breathe their work, and derive enjoyment from it? Here’s how we think we can achieve this.

We believe that employee happiness consists of:

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We’re woking with these people day-in and day-out. Much better to have somene to talk to when you’re tackling that pesky assignment, you know?


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No one wants to work while they’re sweaty or sleepy. A good working environment provides employees with just the right amount of comfort to keep them motivated.


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It’s the really small things that matter. Small things like having a monthly gathering with colleagues to play games, or someone getting coffee for everybody when there’s a super-early meeting. Little surprises go a long way in keeping employees happy.


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Enough sleep, regular meals. Do your employees have the energy to do their work? Are they struggling to meet deadlines with half-opened eyes? Are they starting to get cranky and irritated because all they want to do is to sleep, but they have work to do? Always encourage your employees to take ample rest. Give them time to have ample rest; how about starting work later?

That’s what employee happiness, to me, a working adult, is all about.


But what of employee engagement? Do you feel that pride and sense of achievement when you work? Do you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile? Here’re some of the things we think are necessary to achieve all that.

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Simply put, we’ve gotta love what we do. We’ve gotta want to do what we’re doing. No one wants to force themselves to do something they don’t truly believe in. Thankfully, passion can be cultivated. It requires some educating and some interaction and some time, but passion for work can be cultivated.


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Say “thank you”! Say “you’ll do better next time”! Say “you’re getting there”! We employees need and want to know how we’re getting along. We need to know what we can improve on, and what accomplishments we’re actually achieving, if we’re achieving any. This keeps us engaged and interested, both in our own progress and the company’s.


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Does my work help me as an individual? Or am I simply giving my time and life away to the company, but getting nothing besides monetary gains in return? We’ve already established that while money is a good pull, it’s not a good foundation for employees to base their happiness or engagement on. The workplace needs to be able to shape their employees, and help their employees learn and grow in their personal lives.

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At the end of a long day at work, everyone wants to feel like they’ve done something with their day. We don’t want to think, “Oh, I just went to work today”. We want to think, “Hey, I designed an app today!” or “I saved a couple from falling into bankruptcy!” or “I helped energize people by serving them coffee!”

Employee happiness and engagement boils down to this: Do I want to tell other people what I did at work today? Am I excited about what I did at work today?

Yes, it’s true that work is just one aspect in our lives, and, who knows, maybe we are putting too much thought into it. Maybe we’re meant to grumble and hate work, but then go back to a loving home where everything is alright. Maybe we’re not meant to love our work. Maybe that’s okay. After all, work isn’t everything, is it?

But why should we suffer, if we don’t have to? Why should we hate our work if we can love it?

Yes, there is much more to life than work. But work can also be so much more if we put some life into it.

In bed after 11pm, outta bed after 8am, makes your life awesome, fun, and grand!

“Oh my god, you’re so lucky!” is the usual response I receive when I’m asked what my working hours are like. If you’re wondering what they are, the official office hours for us here at Gametize is 10:30am to 7:30pm.

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To be honest, I had my doubts about such strange working hours when I first came to Gametize: Will I be as productive if I start work so late? Will my social life suffer? What if I get accustomed to waking up late and I become a lazy slob?

Six weeks into working with Gametize, and I realise how stupid those worries are, and how many benefits I actually have from my work schedule, benefits I hadnt even thought of.


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One of the first benefits I noticed, I noticed straight away on my first day of work. I get on a train at around 9:30am every day, and, by then, all the 9 – 5ers are already in their office cubicles, clacking away at their keyboards!

It is such a glorious thing, being able to take the train without having an impromptu club-grind-experience. I can stretch my arms and legs, I can bend over to tie my shoelaces, I can breathe.

Would all of this be possible with a regular 9 – 5 work schedule job? Hell to the no!


pixelbox3Having grown up with a Singaporean education system, I’m accustomed to waking up super-early, and starting lessons super-early as well. In Singapore, we start cramming information into our heads as early as 8:00am!

I’m used to doing that. I’m used to having to force myself to study and memorise equations and such, even when my brain is yelling at me that it can’t.

Yes, my brain yells at me that it can’t do work! And, apparently, it’s not just my brain that’s protesting, but my heart, and liver, and who knows what else.

According to Dr Paul Kelley of Oxford University and a research team at the Sleep and Circadian Institute, our body runs on this 24-hour rhythm that we cannot force through acclimatisation. By asking students and working adults to report to work before 9am, we’re actually forcing parts of our body to work two or three hours off of its 24-hour-rhythm.

That can’t be good, can it?

But I’m used to it. I’m used to this unhealthiness, after going through eleven years of it. I’m used to it and I’ve made it work for me, somehow.

So you can understand my concerns when I was first told my new, unconventional work schedule at Gametize. I thought I’d already gotten used to starting work early, and that starting work late from now on was sure to mess up my productivity!

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, my productivity’s actually improved!

Now that I’m working alongside my body’s “24-hour-rhythm”, I find myself more alert and falling sick less often. My brain no longer yells at me to take a break; instead it says, “Yeah, okay, I’m ready to work, let’s go.”

This way, I’m more focused, and I get through my tasks quicker, instead of yawning every thirty seconds, wishing I were dead. Which leads me to my third point…


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Sleep deprivation is an international problem.

We’ve all been there: it’s 7am, and we’ve got to be at school/work in two hours, and we’ve only had four hours of sleep. We crawl to our coffee pots—we don’t even bother pouring ourselves a cup, we just drink straight from the pot—and then we get dressed somehow, and we drag our feet to school/work.

At school/work, things don’t improve. We slouch over our desks, and we yawn so often our jaws are beginning to hurt, and we think to ourselves, “Someone, just kill me, please.”

I’m happy to report that in my past six weeks with a 10:30am – 7:30pm schedule, this has not happened, ever! (And, no, it’s not just because the office’s pantry is always fully-stocked with coffee!)

Get off work at 7:30pm, and if you’ve got a social life, great for you, maybe you’ll get home around midnight, you’ll head to bed at 1:00am. The latest I have to wake up, in order to get to work on time, is 9:00am.

That still gives me eight hours of sleep.

“Oh, stop whining,” some might say. “You can still get eight hours of sleep with regular 9 – 5 work hours! You just have to go to sleep earlier!”

Oh, come on, let’s face it: nobody wants to go to sleep before 11:00pm, so if we can’t change our nightly schedules, let’s change our morning schedules and start work later.

This is when someone jumps in and says that age-old saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.

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And it’s a saying from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States! It has to be true!

Sorry, Ben, but modern research has proven you wrong.

A pair of epidemiologists at Southampton University conducted a research and found that night owls (in bed only after 11:00pm, up only after 8:00am) were financially and professionally more successful than morning larks (in bed before 11:00pm, up before 8:00am).

Another research by psychologist Richard D. Roberts of the University of Sydney and Patrick C. Kyllonen of the Air Force Research Lab, found that night owls also outperformed morning larks on intelligence tests.

As of yet, there is no scientific research that says “early to bed, early to rise” really does make us healthier, wealthier, or wiser, but there are tangible results that state the opposite.

Right now, being a night owl seems like the obvious choice that people should make! But nothing’s perfect, and night owls have their flaws too: we’re more prone to substance abuse, and more prone to clinical depression. But that’s a discussion for another time (or if you’d like, you can check out this article regarding night owls and morning larks, backed up with scientific research!).

So after all’s been said and done, what’s to be done about our school/work schedules? What is the right time to start school/work?

I’m no omniscient being, and I don’t have all the answers, but as a person who’s experienced both starting work before and after 9:00am, all I can share is that I much, much prefer the latter.

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MVP OF THE WEEK: CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT HER… OUR DO-IT-ALL NINJA

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If you visit the Gametize office, the one name you’ll hear being repeated more than any other is probably “Shan Shan”!

Being Gametize’s creative director and also being a project manager, Shan Shan has all the answers, and she knows all the in-and-out’s of almost all the projects.

Shan Shan hails from a Communication and New Media course in university, and originally signed on to do design in Gametize. However, she found herself with loads more things to do than just that, and all of that has helped shaped her into who she is today. Now, there’s no question she can’t answer, no client she can’t respond to, no project she can’t handle.

And it doesn’t end there; Shan Shan’s in charge of onboarding and training all the new Gametize ninjas as well! And it’s not just one newbie ninja at a time either. At this current time, she’s taking on three!

When we call Shan Shan the “do-it-all ninja”, it’s because she really can do it all.

MVP OF THE WEEK 2015: BOW WOW, MEET OUR… DOG NINJA!

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Initially only capable of communicating with dogs and fumbling at social interaction, Belle now has skills she can actually use in the real world. These are skills she picked up in polytechnic, and they include: a strong immunity to the sweat and pain that comes with film production, thick skin towards criticism that had constantly been shot at her writing, and forced calm when her HTML coding doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

 

Armed with these new skills, Belle was sent to Gametize for her 22-week internship, where she joined the business operations team. Here, Belle is being groomed and shaped to take charge and to take initiative. She is sent to business meetings, and asked to head several internal projects.

 

Belle is learning many new things, and she is also getting to hone the skills she already possesses. By the end of her journey with Gametize, Belle will be a different person yet again, with newer skills in her arsenal!

Gametize Major Updates/Release Notes (1st Oct 2015)

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At Gametize, we work on an iterative basis and make it our priority to continuously optimize our features, performance, and user experience. Changes would be committed as closely as on a daily basis.

This fall, we have put together a strong push for a string of improvements we are confident will make you bleam and gleam. The team has worked extremely hard, while juggling with making sure our database performance remains robust. With that, here is our list of goodies:

1. Push Notification Enabled
– The platform will now send push notifications for actions that involve individual user (For example: somebody voted for your submission, etc)
– Admin can push notification to a single user or broadcast to everyone
Exclusively for Gold license only
– NOTE: it will not work if user disables push notification on their device

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2. Multi-field Challenge (Coming really soon for Android – 12 Oct)
– User can complete multiple entries in a single challenge (i.e. free text, calendar, multiple choice)

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3. Private Submission
– User can enter sensitive information which is visible only to self and admin
– NOTE: Applicable to standard, photo and multi-field challenge

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4. Segmented Leaderboard
– User can view leaderboard based on all-time, monthly, daily

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5. Search bar (Available in next app update)
– User can search for relevant content quickly

6. Bookmarking for Players (Available in next app update)
– User can bookmark any content (flashcards or challenges)

7. Topic Categories (Coming soon in Android)
– User can view Topics (previously known as Quests) into categories

8. Assessment Topic (Coming soon in admin dashboard)
– Admin can create a series of poll challenges with hidden scores for each option
– Hidden scores will be computed to reveal final results at the end
– Useful for personality quizzes, evaluations and other assessments