Pesto Blog

What gaming can teach us about making work more fun

Daniel Liem
Daniel Liem
Aug 11, 2021 - 4 min read
What gaming can teach us about making work more fun

One of our core tenets at Pesto is to make work less lonely and more fun. When you're working every weekday from 9 to 5, it's easy for the days to feel monotonous and leave you burnt out. To combat this, we drew inspiration from some of the best practices in gaming and incorporated them into our product to make the workday more exciting.

Combining gaming and work may seem like a contradicting combination. Some may argue it would make you less productive. However, there are some elements that can be applied to make work feel more fun and connected for teams, especially in a virtual setting.

Here are some of the ways we've incorporated aspects of gaming into our product that our users love:

Avatar customizations allow for self-expression

One reason why gamers love Fortnite is how realistic, fun and unique your characters can be. From the thousands of looks and items you can equip to the dances you can showoff when you win a battle, there are so many ways you can customize your character to fit your personality.

Fortnite's character customization

We've added this fun element of customization to Pesto through our avatars. Pesto users can create their own in-app avatar that they can personalize to showcase their unique identity in a virtual office setting. Users can choose from a wide variety of items - from pride hoodies to wizard items to beach outfits.

An example of the Pesto avatar customization options
Pesto avatar customizations

Over time, our avatars became our product's superpower. Just like video game characters in multiplayer mode settings, we realized our avatars help teams feel more connected. People love showing off their individual styles and looks to their coworkers. It's also helpful when having audio-first meetings as the avatars are a virtual representation of you - unlike Zoom, which just shows your name when you turn your video off.

Our users continue to rave about them, asking for more clothes or items to be integrated. We plan on enhancing our avatar wardrobe to include a store component, where you can participate in games and quests to earn coins to purchase new items (think microtransactions) – stay tuned for our upcoming release!

In-app games foster team bonding and encourage downtime

Some of the problems of remote work is that it's easy to burnout and it's hard to foster strong relationships. That's why we build in games like Battle Islands, the Great Sloth Race, Trivia and Cold Winter. Games are a great way to have fun with your coworkers over happy hour or simply get some downtime during the day.

Our users log many hours on each game we release. They've told us that the games help reduce stress and make it easier to conduct icebreakers with teams. It seems like they do quite the opposite of decreasing team productivity!

FOMO encourages user retention

A ton of popular games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Roblox and more employ the “fear of missing out” tactic. For example, special items disappear if you don’t attempt to unlock it in a certain period of time. Or, you have to do a particular task within some constraint in order to get a secret in-game feature.

Example of Roblox missions to win special items

We do the same in Pesto. Our games (shown above) are seasonal and disappear after a certain amount of time. Additionally, we plant quests around the app that, if completed, unlocks a special avatar asset. For example, if you share Pesto on your social media, you’ll get a special wizard item. Or, If you refer us to a certain number of friends that sign up for Pesto, you get a special crown.

Some examples of tasks that you can complete within Pesto to unlock special avatar items
You can unlock special avatar items by completing the quest as shown here

One time, we had a limited edition Chinese New Years sweater that you could only get if you were online that day. Of course, many missed it, and it resulted in an influx of customer support requests asking for an exception. To us, it's a great sign our users are complaining about it!

The special Pesto limited edition Chinese New Years sweater
The limited edition Chinese New Years sweater

These tactics help make our product more fun, and in return improves our retention metrics. It encourages teams to continue using the product in order to discover all the easter eggs we implement into the app.

We're constantly looking for new ways we can apply gaming principles to change the way we work. Every week, we're building a ton of new features into our product to make work less lonely and more fun.

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a team communication platform that makes remote and hybrid work more fast, fun, and inclusive.

Our product is currently completely free - try it out at

If you've got ideas on how we can make Pesto better, drop us a note at [email protected]

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