How can construction projects use gamification?
The construction industry is at the heart of many countries economic growth. It can greatly benefit from a better organization that yields ensure productivity, safety, and quality.
Unfortunately, the construction industry is very traditional and slow to adopt new technologies that could improve their efficiencies.
Processes, tools, and working habits are still often developed through trial and error. Consequently, large amounts of money are lost every year due to mistakes, accidents, and substandard manufacturing.
Also, working safety is still a major concern on construction sites. Although injuries and deaths have been decreasing, many could be avoided with proper safety measures.
When it comes to productivity and safety in construction, the human factor becomes the weakest link in the chain. As a result, it is critical to employ effective tools that reduce human intervention.
Gamification could be a great solution to improve construction efficiencies and safety since it is a very powerful tool that influences people’s behavior.
If you have never heard of the term, here is a quick explanation of what is gamification.
Gamification is a process that aims at engaging, motivating, and retaining employees by making their work more exciting and interesting. It uses game mechanics to foster positive behaviors that will create a competitive spirit between employees.
When gamification is applied to construction it can be used to inform, educate, and encourage the adoption of safer working practices across all levels of personnel. This will help manage the risk of accidents and injuries while improving productivity.
One way to achieve this is to apply a point system for completing tasks. For example, in construction, every task has a specific number of actions that must be carried out before being completed. This can be very effective if it is combined with the next step in the process.
The second step is to reward employees for completing actions correctly or at a faster rate than usual.
The reward can be in monetary value or it may take the form of free time. A good example of this is when construction managers offer an incentive to finish a task before the deadline, with no accidents recorded.
The third and final step is to create competition between employees by awarding points for completing tasks faster than other employees. This step may not be the most effective of the three, but it is still important in motivating individuals to achieve their goals.
Why implement gamification in construction?
The benefits of implementing game mechanics into the construction industry are numerous. Some of the most important ones include:
Improved safety standards
Implementing game mechanics can help raise safety standards through positive reinforcement. For example, a construction company may offer a bonus to the worker who finishes his tasks with no accidents recorded.
This will encourage workers to perform their duties with increased vigilance and attention, as it will be in their best interest to do so.
In this way, gamification can motivate higher standards of safety without imposing stricter regulations or monitoring from managers.
Here is an example implementation of gamification to improve safety standards:
A construction company is carrying out renovations on a local school. The company has implemented a point system to encourage workers to be more vigilant and focused. A point is awarded every time a task is completed without an accident.
The construction company also offers a bonus to the worker who completes his tasks with no accidents in the fastest time possible.
Every Friday, the construction company calculates the points of every worker and ranks them. The worker with the highest number of points gets a free lunch and an extra day off.
Most building construction sites require hard hats, steel-toed boots, hearing protection, eye protection, and harnesses as standard safety equipment. In some situations, masks and gloves may also be required.
Another example would be to reward workers with points for wearing their safety equipment.
Construction workers can receive points or badges for wearing the proper safety equipment and/or disobeying safety rules can lead to a loss of points or badges.
This will encourage workers to always wear their helmets, gloves, and goggles while they are on site.
Workers who haven’t been caught with safety breaches in the past are given bonus points.
These bonus points then can be calculated at the end of the year in order to see who the “safest worker” of them all is. Then the safest three employees can be rewarded with a nice bonus for their efforts.
Warning signs can also be incorporated into gamification to encourage safety precautions. For example, construction workers can receive points or badges for putting up warning signs that show where dangerous equipment is located.
Construction workers can receive points or badges for using a certain number of safety tools in a single day.
For example, they could be given a badge for using a hard hat, steel-toed boots, and hearing protection in a single day. This would encourage them to use all of the necessary safety equipment.
Gamification can be used to encourage construction workers to take certain courses on safety.
For example, workers can be given points for signing up for a course on airborne contaminants, fall prevention, or machinery guarding. This would encourage them to enroll in courses that they may not have had an opportunity to take otherwise.
Higher productivity levels
Employees who are motivated are more likely to produce superior results. As a result, the company’s productivity levels will increase and this will translate into higher profits.
Here are a few ideas of using gamification to increase productivity levels:
A construction company implements a point system where a point is awarded every time a task is successfully completed. The success of the delivered task is determined by using a predetermined metric.
For example, the construction company can calculate a point for every meter of a wall that is painted in the required time or less.
A certain amount of extra points would be awarded if the worker manages to paint more than a certain threshold. Given that the worker’s production is within the quality threshold, it could be considered a success.
This means that workers would have an incentive to work faster and with greater attention. In this way, gamification can increase productivity levels.
In order to track and share productivity levels, construction companies can use certain tools like phone apps.
Since almost everyone nowadays has a smartphone, workers can use their mobile phones to report their performance or track their progress.
Better blueprint management
Blueprints are the map of any construction site. It shows where to put everything and how everything fits together. Before starting a task, it is critical to determine whether the blueprint in hand is the most recent.
Most blueprints are updated frequently during construction. Because there are always changes and tasks to be added. Using paper blueprints can be a hassle here.
In fact, paper blueprints are gradually becoming obsolete since digital blueprints are much more efficient. Paper blueprints can get lost or destroyed and can take a long time to be updated.
Also, using paper blueprints there may be multiple versions of the same paper blueprint in circulation at any point in time which can lead to costly mistakes.
Digital blueprints are fantastic because they make the entire blueprint management process more enjoyable. They allow teams to collaborate on the same digital blueprint at the same time.
This allows the team members to communicate with each other on any changes that are needed.
All this information is documented, which means that the exact state of the blueprint is recorded and accessible at any given point in time.
Digital blueprints allow workers to access blueprints from their tablets or smartphones. Workers can view, suggest changes, or ask questions about anything that is unclear. They can report on the progress of each task and receive new ones.
Since digital blueprints can be updated and shared in real-time, construction companies can be much more proactive in managing information.
In the end, this will lead to a reduction in costs because there will be lower chances of errors.
PlanGrid is a great example of a gamified construction management app. It makes it easier to view, edit, and annotate blueprints. Workers can take photos and mark up blueprints with notes, measurements, or anything else that is necessary.
This allows workers to collaborate on the same documents, which leads to better performance and, ultimately, a more competitive advantage for the company.
Positive culture change
A positive culture change is an overall benefit of implementing gamification in construction. This is because it encourages workers to see things in a whole new light and it lets them share their vision and ideas with the rest of the team.
It is important for workers to be able to see how their tasks contribute to the bigger picture. They should know that they are part of a team and, at the same time, an individual with unique skills.
When workers are encouraged to see how their work is important for the company’s vision and growth, they will be more engaged with their work.
A positive culture change can happen by awarding workers for completing tasks on time or answering questions in a timely manner.
Gamification can be used to encourage collaboration, creativity, and communication. Workers will be more likely to collaborate and share ideas if they are rewarded for working together in teams rather than individually.
This, in turn, can result in a better end product, which will benefit the company in the long run.
Improved quality of work output
Gamification in the construction industry is about more than just increasing productivity.
It can also be used to improve work output quality. Employees can be rewarded for completing tasks to a higher standard than was previously expected.
As a result, the overall quality of work produced improves, leading to a better reputation and client satisfaction.
For example, if an employee is in charge of installing electrical outlets, gamification can be used to reward employees for completing this task with greater accuracy. The required level of precision can be defined by different ‘levels’ of accuracy that workers have to meet.
The electrician who failed to screw at least one screw or misaligned the outlet on the wall will receive a lower score.
On the other hand, if all of the screws are in their proper places and the outlet is not misaligned, the electrician will receive a higher score.
This also applies to workers in other construction trades such as painters, plumbers, carpenters, and so on.
More interest in doing more challenging tasks
Gamification motivates employees to take on more difficult tasks. This is because they are rewarded for successfully completing them, with increased responsibilities offered as a result of their efforts.
Workers in the construction industry can be rewarded for completing difficult tasks.
For example, if a worker has successfully completed difficult tasks without errors, they may be given the responsibility of being a lead worker in a specific project.
This will motivate them to perform better and finish more difficult tasks that take longer. Employers can use gamification to assign more specialized tasks, preparing employees for future promotions.
What does a typical gamification system in construction look like?
A typical construction gamification system should include the following components: Virtual prizes, tasks, challenges, badges, or credits, A Community-Based Reputation System with a Leaderboard.
Top performers are awarded virtual prizes in the form of virtual tokens/points.
These tokens/points are then be used to buy gift cards for local grocery stores and department stores, as well as to redeem points for high-end electronic devices.
Tasks are short descriptions of a specific task that the user has to complete in order to receive a certain number of points. It can be anything from placing a screw in the correct place to fixing a hole in the wall to installing a sink with no errors.
Challenges can be created when different teams compete against each other in the same project.
For example, if there are two construction groups that are working on separate floors of one building, they might want to challenge each other by completing their work more quickly than the other team.
The group that completes their work first will receive a certain number of points as a reward.
Badges or Credits are given to an individual upon completion of tasks. These can be visible to everyone in the community so they can recognize who is performing well and motivate them to work even harder.
For example, there can be badges/credits for completing tasks, for completing tasks with higher precision than the required amount of ‘accuracy’, etc.
A Community-based Reputation System can be built so individuals get recognized for their abilities and conduct.
Employees may also want to show off their achievements in order to get noticed by their managers. Leaderboards provide an overview of the top performers in each category.
Gamification can be a great option for motivating employees and improving performance in the construction industry.
It can also be used to motivate them and improve performance in order to prevent accidents or complete work more quickly, which will result in cost savings for the client.
Therefore, gamification is a unique approach that every construction company should consider implementing in their workplace.