Over the past few months a few of us atoms have taken up playing chess. We play correspondence games and over-the-board games during our lunch breaks. Aside from the fact that geeks tend to do geeky things, there are actual benefits to be gained.
Any grass-roots efforts to build camaraderie outside of working hours should be encouraged. We’ve had our share at Atomic Object. We’ve used our open space for movie nights, hacky-sack, ping-pong, LAN parties, and even Dungeons and Dragons adventures.
I think chess is one of the best activities we’ve introduced at the office. A game of chess forces the players to focus their thoughts while under intense time pressure.
It requires planning, thought, and a willingness to learn. It offers plenty of room for interpretation and discussion.
Quite often after a game, two or three other atoms will walk by and analyze the position on the board and offer their opinions. Chess leads to better communication, more time spent together outside of just writing code, cooperative thinking, and other good things.
Every workplace should explore the benefits of having a chessboard on its coffee table.