I am an avid World of Warcraft player since 2008, and the thing I like doing most in the game is collecting cosmetic rewards, mainly focused on something called "mounts", which are basically vehicles of all shapes and sizes that allow you to go faster and/or fly. For context, I currently have collected just over 800 mounts and just over half of all collectible cosmetic rewards over the past 16 years.

Many of these cosmetics have a low single digits % chance to be a reward from rare enemies that appear at certain fixed locations in the game world at certain intervals ranging from 15-20 minutes at the low end of the scale to 2-8 hours at the high end. Usually the interval is 30-60 minutes. In addition, there usually is a "lockout" on these chances, meaning that you only get 1 chance at this reward in a certain time period (anywhere from 1 day to 1 week, with 4-7 days being the most common) per character you attempt it on. A single attempt usually takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on what enemy it is and whether I want to make any subsequent attempts afterwards that require me to log into another character.

I work from home for 4 days per week as a software developer. There is no monitoring that I know of regarding activity that I do while working from home, especially not on my personal devices. I also don't have major deadlines that I need to meet. In the past my boss has made statements summarized as "we're all adults, I expect everyone to responsibly manage their time and resources without me having to micromanage them", so I have relatively large amounts of freedom how I perform my work. My work environment is also relatively relaxed, with friendly banter, and discussions between coworkers while at the office and coworkers who sometimes leave the office for errands like buying a loaf of bread to eat at home or something to munch on while working.

The consideration I've made is that if I want to acquire those mounts from the second paragraph, I need to be waiting at that fixed location these enemies appear at for however long it takes for them to appear. In the past I've usually done this outside of working hours, but that always meant I had to balance that time against time spent playing other games, doing household chores, reading, exercise, and other activities.

You might see where I'm going with this: About a year or two ago I started having my laptop on a side table while working from home with one of my World of Warcraft characters logged in at a location where one of these rare enemies appears. I would passively listen for a warning chime the next time this enemy appears while doing my work then react to that chime by switching to the laptop and quickly making the attempt, then log into the next character that I placed there beforehand. If necessary, I'd skip an appearance if it was too soon after the last attempt or if it coincides with a meeting, or I'd take a second to log in again when the game would automatically log me out after 30 minutes for inactivity.

The way I justified this was that I used this as a rough indicator to take a short break like is recommended to take roughly every hour: stretch my legs, get something to drink, go to the toilet, that sort of thing. My reasoning is that it shouldn't really matter what I do during my breaks or when I take them as long as I don't abuse the privilege. I also have not told my boss or coworkers about this yet, though based on the statements my boss and coworkers have made in the past I don't think they would be particularly upset about this.

The question I have about this: based on the above points I make, is this grossly unethical behavior or something else that could get me into trouble? I think the biggest problem might be a lack of transparency about this... Let's call it innovative way of scheduling breaks, but I'm not sure what the best way would be to bring this up with them.

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    I'd lose focus if doing this for more than the 5 minutes, e.g. by thinking about the game, regularly looking in that direction, etc. And that would be the problem.
    – DonQuiKong
    Commented Jun 26 at 23:38
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    By definition of how for-profit companies function in a capitalist system, your employer is taking an advantage of you by not compensating you fully for the value you produce. It is absolutely ethical to correct the power imbalance between you and your employer by using company time for personal gain. As long as it doesn't affect your perceived value as an employee, just go for it.
    – Torben
    Commented Jun 27 at 5:33
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    @wimi Companies don't go bankrupt because workers take a bit longer bathroom breaks because they're playing [the fashionable cow clicker of the day] on the john. Companies go bankrupt because of bad management. The suggestion that my imaginary "hundred dollars a month deficit in productivity" would be the straw that breaks the back of a hundred millon dollar company is, frankly, naive. And I am not taking advantage of my cows. On the contrary I am here literally just now helping them survive the corporate abuse.
    – Torben
    Commented Jun 27 at 8:22
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    The short regular breaks from work, usually 5 minutes once an hour, are targeted for your eyes - not doing them much service switching to the next display. I don't think its problem if you work later then. But I don't believe you can switch context so easily, making the 30-300 secs break much longer productivity-wise. What I mean in my opinion it is OK if you compensate the time freely. Advice: mute the game, the waiting for an alert puts your brain on high-alert mode and the thought of the game will be always there. Off topic: Think (hard) whether you are slave of the game. I mean it.
    – Petruch
    Commented Jun 27 at 10:17
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    @Petruch Not just for your eyes (which indeed really benefit from focusing on something else for a bit), but also getting up and moving, which is good for your muscles, joints, and circulation. I agree that a physical break cannot be replaced by simply switching to an adjacent screen.
    – marcelm
    Commented Jun 27 at 10:22

13 Answers 13


I'm not sure what the best way would be to bring this up with them.

I can't think why you would want to bring it up at all. It's similar to what most people do working remotely.

If my phone rings I answer it. If I feel like a coffee I go make one. If one of my kids comes into my home office with some drama, I deal with it.

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    I can't think why you'd mention it, or ask chatwhatever.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Jun 26 at 10:07
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    Bringing it up will not help you. If somebody I hired would ask me directly if that is acceptable I would surely say no. Think about it agreeing would be like giving a blank cheque for work avoiding behavior. However if he just does it and I find it out unless I was under the impression it was impacting performance I wouldn't say anything.
    – seg
    Commented Jun 26 at 10:10
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    @seg there's a saying of never ask question that you don't want to hear the answer to.
    – Peter M
    Commented Jun 26 at 15:26
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    Are you getting your work done? If so, then nobody needs to know, any more than anyone needs to know how often you use the restroom while at work. If you aren't getting your work done, then you need to figure out if this is because of game playing or some other reason and fix it. Commented Jun 26 at 23:06
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    Absolutely this. I don't need to know what my people do in their breaks, I only care their tasks are done to a high standard and on time. However, when their tasks are done poorly, or take a very long time or I'm receiving complaints about them never answering calls or IM's, then it becomes necessary for me to know. Personally, I couldn't do this, I'd be too distracted. However if you can focus on your work appropriately and you're not affecting your productivity, then as I said, it's your own business. After all, how much time to people spend chatting with colleagues in a traditional office?
    – ThaRobster
    Commented Jun 27 at 7:58

First, I would not bring it up in detail because it is too easy to be just misunderstood or scanned for buzzwords. For example, a totally disinterested HR head might only hear "I play WoW while working". Which is not what you said, but the difference is in the details that a non WoW player might not understand. They understand "computer game is being played, computer game notorious for taking lots and lots of time".

Your boss already told you that you are all adults. What my take on this is: during work time, work has absolute priority. And I work the contractually planned time. That said, how many breaks I take and what I do in those breaks are non of the companies concern, since I would always prioritize a work thing over a private thing and if I take a 30min break for a private thing, I will just work the 30 minutes later or on another day.

So for example, I will start the unit tests, I know I will not be able to do anything productive until I get the results back in 7 minutes, so I go take a break and put the laundry in the dryer. I am happy my laundry gets done, my boss is happy that I am not actively waiting and being paid for it, and everyone is happy and got the best of both worlds. If I get a work call I put the laundry down and resume work (including being paid for it since my break is over). If the washer dings and there is nothing at work that would be important, I take a break and put the laundry in the dryer. No harm no foul, it was an unpaid break at a time where anybody at the office could have gotten up from their chair for a smoke or coffee break, too. And that would probably even be paid, since nobody clocks out for a coffee.

Sometimes I get deliveries. Someone rings my doorbell, I go get it. Wait till the delivery service gets up the stairs to my appartment, maybe sign something, put the package somewhere safe until I open it later. Everyone does that. Nobody would complain about it.

If you are essentially doing the same thing, having an external signal to call you away for a few minutes once or twice a day, then I don't see any harm. It's none of my business whether that signal is a doorbell, your microwave, or a WoW sound.

The important thing is that it does not impact your work outside of that signalled break. If you were constantly checking your other screen, that would be a big distraction in your daily duties. The same way that I would see constantly looking out the window for the mail carrier a big no-no. Your work should proceed with focus, not distracted.

So bottom line: if taking unscheduled and unpaid breaks is okay with your work (which it should be), then there is nothing wrong with whatever you do in those breaks. If you want to be sure, bring up other unscheduled breaks, like the postman or laundry. Do not bring up WoW, as that is way to easy to misunderstand or give the wrong impression.

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    Do you clock out for each and every short break? How do you manage that? I’d get crazy or forget about it after a single day!
    – breversa
    Commented Jun 27 at 8:31
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    I’m not sure if there is a hard legal background to it but my works council recommends a 10 minute break every 50 minutes of work. Paid of course. We are not robots. Nobody would even think of clocking out for a coffee break or for asking a coworker how their weekend has been.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 27 at 9:48
  • That is true, so does mine, but it is meant to relax from whatever work strain... so get a coffee, take the strain of looking at a screen off your eyes. Or take a break from tasting coffee all day long and go look at a screen for 5 minutes to relax your mouth :) Taking a break from screen work at another screen would probably not even satisfy that requirement.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jun 27 at 11:01
  • @breversa Well, our boss trusts us, so "clocking out" for breaks is in my mind... at the end of the day my time management software will ask how many minutes of breaks were in my time clocked and I will tell it an approximation. That likely means I work too much, but we are talking "minutes" in either direction here, I'm not exactly getting exploited by not accurately measuring it.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jun 27 at 11:04

There is nothing intrinsically worse about playing a video game than any other distraction. But it is a distraction from work, and I strongly suspect it's a much larger distraction than you think it is. It's worth reading about switching costs- switching back and forth between tasks at a rate of potentially twice every 30 minutes has an outsized negative effect on productivity.

You need to take an honest accounting of how much it is affecting your work. It might be worth spending a few days with the game and without the game, tracking your productivity in some objective way. At a minimum, get a stopwatch that you have running any time you so much as look at your laptop to get an idea of exactly how much of your day is spent on WoW.

short break like is recommended to take roughly every hour: stretch my legs, get something to drink, go to the toilet, that sort of thing

Are you forgoing those breaks? That's probably not very healthy. And if you are still taking them, you are taking more breaks than you would be otherwise.

I'm not sure what the best way would be to bring this up with them.

Don't bring it up. You will be told no, and it may affect your employer's opinion of you negatively. It would be better to just stop if you're going to have to stop either way.

something else that could get me into trouble?

It definitely could. Depends on your employer. But if it's genuinely not affecting your productivity, how would they ever find out?

Side note:

If necessary, I'd skip an appearance if it was too soon after the last attempt or if it coincides with a meeting,

If you're saying that you're still listening to game audio during a meeting, I would say that's definitely crosses a line. So stop that.

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    This is pretty much exactly the answer I wanted to write. Depending on your work, context switching can be costly for your productivity and if you're constantly listening for the game notification, than that surely is impacting the amount of focus on your work. It's highly likely that it has a much bigger impact than OP thinks.
    – Dnomyar96
    Commented Jun 27 at 11:04
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    Yeah, the entire question sounds like an unhealthy addiction to me. There's nothing intrinsically wrong about taking breaks from work to play games... but if you're shaping your working hours around the timing of in-game loot drops, it's not a good sign. Commented Jul 1 at 0:25
  • Also, even if it's unhealthy addiction, and it sounds like it is, his employer is not his therapist. He would be absolutely insane to tell them about it. The same goes with his coworkers. He needs to tell absolutely no one at his work place. Commented Jul 7 at 4:49

Is it unethical? Short answer, no. Could it get you in trouble? Possibly, but only if it affects your work or the wrong people find out.

Longer answer to the first question: no, it is not unethical. Provided your work culture allows it, there's nothing wrong with taking short breaks as often as you want/need as long as it doesn't interfere with your productivity, and what you do on those breaks is no one's business but your own (and in the software development space in particular, it's very common to play games during downtime).

On the topic of transparency, though, there's a difference between being honest and over-sharing. It's admirable that you want to have full disclosure with your managers regarding your work habits, but some things fall squarely under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If it's not affecting your productivity, they don't need to know, and from the manager's perspective, they would likely rather not know anyway since, even if it's an open secret that virtually everyone does it, once they KNOW, they might be compelled by the higher ups or HR to report it.

In other words, there are no upsides and only potential downsides to bringing this up. Best case scenario*, no one will care as long as you are getting your tasks done, leaving absolutely nothing about your position different than it was before. However, in the worst case scenario, whoever you tell and/or whoever THEY tell will now think you're a slacker who plays games on company time which is a sure path to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

*: I suppose the actual best case scenario is that the entire management team of the company goes, "You play WoW? Me too! We should organize a company guild and do weekly raids!" But if I were you, I wouldn't bet on that happening. (And God help you if your CEO is Horde while your COO is Alliance.)


Something I haven't seen you or any of the responses mention is the distinction between hourly vs. salary work.

If you are being paid hourly, then I would consider spending significant time on personal activities to be unethical if you're claiming that you're working during that time. No one would expect you to "clock out" for a 5 minute bathroom break but if you're spending 15 minutes playing a video game then that sounds like it's getting into unethical territory.

However, if you're salaried, then the benefits and expectations on your time generally "swing both ways". In the US this is referred to as "FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) exempt" (I'm grossly oversimplifying this law, do not take this as legal advice).

For example if you have to work 2 hours late due to a production bug, your employer does not have to pay you extra time or overtime as they would an hourly employee. On the flip side, as long as you're getting your work done and meeting expectations, your employer doesn't have much say in how you go about doing that.

So if it were me, I wouldn't even bring it up. It's not like you're working for a call center where your missing a call puts extra work on someone else. Get your work done & enjoy your game & no one will need to worry about it.

It sounds like you're concerned that they'll "find out" about your game & the fact that you didn't bring it up would be considered lying by omission. I highly doubt a scenario would play out like that.

Just be careful that you don't let game time continue to gradually grow over time to the point that it's impacting your work, and everything will be fine.


is this grossly unethical

Yes. I say this is stealing from the employer.

I know nothing about the game except what you've typed above, but you say...

enemies that appear ... at .. intervals ranging from 15-20 min... to 2-8 hours... Usually... 30-60 min

and for each of these interruptions to your work, you say...

single attempt usually takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes

I'm not sure if the 5 min is worst case sum assuming you kept failing on this enemy, and you re-logged in to all your other characters and retried. Or each character is 30 s to 5 min attempt.

Anyway there's a lot of variability and randomness and averages to work with here. I don't agree with the other answers to the effect that this is normal working from home... they go to the door to get the package deliveries, they go make a coffee, they go to the pisser, and this is the same. Unless you do absolutely none of those things and shit and piss in your diaper, then you must be doing all these "normal" work-from-home things PLUS playing a video game every 30-60 minutes.

Your mind is not on your work, your mind is elsewhere. If you're in the middle of a long thought process, focussed on holding several things in your mind that you're debugging, are you honestly ignoring the "bing" to finish your train of thought, or are you jumping to the game world?

These games, (and social media apps too for that matter) are coded specifically to hijack our human psychology to make themselves as addictive as possible. They dispense the "mounts" like a drug... to a rat... conditioned to press a button... to randomly sometimes get the high... even to the point of its own self detriment.

If you truly want to convince yourself that this is fine, put a video camera on yourself all day for a week. Do a time-and-motion study of exactly how much you're at the game laptop (and the bathroom, and getting water, etc). But I'd be surprised if you find that its "fine". Or if you found this was 2 h per day, and you stretch your work day from normal 8 to 10, then I suppose you could sleep with a clear conscience. Or put it this way, if its "fine", then why don't you also do it on the 5th day of the week at the office?

In the end, it is your call as to what are your principles. The boss' "we're all adults..." statement is saying you're on the honour system, and you're exhibiting no honour. As most of the other answers have said, you should not tell the employer, and you will probably continue to get away with it.

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    Not sure why the downvote; There is a lot of good in this answer with respect to being honest with yourself about how much time you are really spending vs. how much time you might like to claim you're spending. I'm also a programmer, and I know the time cost of interruptions when you've got a dozen plates spinning in your brain in the middle of implementing an algorithm or debugging a problem. I would consider that if you are instantly responding to a bell to go play your game, your actual cost is 5 to 15 minutes more to get back in the zone in addition to the twiddle time on the game. Commented Jun 26 at 19:43
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    I think one issue is that the answer leads with calling this "wage theft," a term with a specific legal meaning ("Wage theft is the failing to pay wages or provide employee benefits owed to an employee by contract or law" per Wikipedia) that in no way applies to the behavior mentioned in the question, regardless of, for instance, how many pages of Das Kapital one can cite from memory. I don't know much about Belgian law, but I would be surprised if not working hard enough even rose to the level of breach of contract in most jobs, let alone any kind of theft.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:32
  • @Obie 2.0 quite right, that's my error on the term wage theft. I meant stealing from the employer, I will edit that. I only politicised it to say that even though I would normally side with labour, in this case I agree with what management would likely answer. I too am a programmer, but in 20+ years I've been mainly in small <10 person companies, so the culture has never been like mega corp attitude, where even the first level boss "would likely rather not know anyway" as described in other answers. That's just how large corps get bloat, or in government jobs, bureaucracies get huge. Commented Jun 26 at 20:49

To answer your actual question right away:

Is it unethical?

Yes, kinda. You have not told your company you are doing this, and multiple comments and answers recommend you not telling them (which I agree with) - but that's already a pretty strong hint that it's not really ethical.

You also write:

In the past I've usually done this outside of working hours, but that always meant I had to balance that time against time spent playing other games, doing household chores, reading, exercise, and other activities.

Which means you are aware that farming mounts this way is kinda distracting, and you don't want that distraction when playing other games or exercising, but for your paid work it's not really a distraction at all? I think you know that's not really true.

Now, of course many things aren't entirely ethical but it also doesn't really bother anybody - think "white lie", only for slightly unethical behaviour. This could be seen as one of those things.


I would strongly, strongly recommend to reconsider. Not because a few seconds every 30 minutes is an exceptional loss of work time on your side, but because it breaks a cardinal rule of successfully working from home - don't defecate where you eat (and certainly don't defecate and eat at the same time).

Every single person I know who has been happily working from home for a long time (pre-pandemic) is absolutely adamant about treating working at home as similar to working from office as possible - different room, similar (or at least regular) schedule, limit home distractions to the unavoidable. They have a separate office which they rarely use outside of work hours. They take breaks by chatting with colleagues via Slack. They do not open Youtube (or their favourite book) during work time. They do not take a quick nap during lunch break even if they are rather tired. In short, they try to keep their private life and work life as separate as they can. You are doing the opposite.

Depending on how career-driven and interested in your work you are this mixing has two opposite risks: for some, it means that work slowly starts taking over private life (since clear boundaries have never been set); for others (and you may be in that group) it means that your private stuff is starting to slowly encroach on your work, little by little step. Right now you are spending a few minutes every half hour playing WoW - this is already a bit on the border, but maybe not the end of the world by itself. But it sets a precedent - once this is normalised, other things will start creeping in, and you will end up spending more and more time playing WoW and not actually working. At some point it will likely start impacting your work in a way that's hard to hide from yourself and others, and it will be hard to get back from that point since you already got yourself used that mixing work and play freely is kind of ok.

I would recommend not going there. Your mounts are not worth it.

  • I don't see how taking a nap on lunch break is a problem as long as you set an alarm and resume work on time. Your productivity might go up. I often have new ideas after sleeping, whether for 20 minutes or 8 hours. Commented Jul 8 at 0:38

Unethical is too harsh a word, but I would lean towards this being unadvisable

I am going to address the Ethical question first:

There are two sides to this that I feel are equally important to address

  • So long as your employer is genuinely getting the full 8 hours (or however long you are contracted to work for or that you bill for) then this is not unethical.

There is a lot of minutiae in this statement - for example, another poster pointed out (which I think is a valid critique) that if you are in the zone and working and get a notification from WoW - which you attend to, are you really as productive as if you had not had the interruption. I think you would be hard-pressed to convince anyone here of that.

I, myself, often go on short YT binges (or stack Exchange posts) when I need to clear my brain - and some of my best work happens right after these mini-breaks. So there is a bit of swing-and-roundabout type thing going on here.

  • On the flipside, you made it sound like you are taking these micro-breaks in the same vein as say going to the Toilet or walking around the office etc. This could be considered Unethical. People need to go pee, people don't need to play WoW. People need to grab a glass of water (cue drink some water memes), they don't need to play WoW. You get my point. There are lot of things that are accepted that humans need to do and so are appropriate to step away from 'work' for, that are not WoW. You get my point. If you are, say, filling in your timesheet that you worked 1 hour on a task, but in reality it was 40 minutes because you were playing WoW for 20 minutes and you aren't making that time back up - then I would say this is unethical.

That all said:

The people that ultimately decide whether this is appropriate or not is the company you work for

I work full-time remote. I have two recurring calendar appointments - one for 8:30-9 and one for 2:30-3:30 - The School Run. My Boss knows that I am unavailable during these times. No one batts and eyelid.

On the flipside, I will happily reply to Emails at 10 pm or flick a Teams message after hours and not bill for it (we do have an on-call schedule where we bill time A/H - at Time and a Half rate) - e.g. I don't clock-watch, I don't say 'it's after 5 pm, I am not working' - I enjoy my Flexibility in my work that allows me to do things that I need to do and in return - I make sure that the company feels like they are getting Value out of me.

So yeah, I may go off to do the school run, I may spend 10 minutes watching some YouTube video, I may have OpenTTD installed on my Laptop, but I also will reply to emails at all hours of the evening, will pick up the phone if my boss calls - if we need to schedule a meeting outside of Business hours - no worries - and this brings us to the point I made above:

So long as it is genuinely reciprocal and that your company feels they are getting the value out of your services, whilst I might say this is probably not an ideal situation (and if it is discovered - may result in a knee-jerk policy - you have been warned), it is not unethical.


On top of all the great answers already, I'd say whether a distraction is fine, depends heavily on the distraction and when you get distracted. There's a big difference between jumping into the game whenever you hear the notification (which it sounds like you're doing) and (for example) reading a Stack Exchange post during a natural lull in your work (for example when you have to wait for something to finish or if you just finished a task and need to wind down for a minute).

If you jump in immediately whenever you hear the notification, you're going to interrupt the flow of your work (maybe not every time, but probably most of the time). Depending on the nature of your work at that time, this can cost much more than the 5 minutes of playing the game. Context switching can easily take 15 minutes. If you're doing this every 30 to 60 minutes, that means you're spending a significant amount of time not in an optimal state.

Than there's also the question of your work times. If you start at 9 (and not a second earlier) and stop at 5 (and not a second later), then there's obviously much less room to play with than if you're not strictly just working your official work hours.

In the end, we can't say for sure what kind of impact it has on your work, but I think it has a much higher impact than you think.

  • This was my first thought as well. I also work from home in a "we're all adults, I expect everyone to responsibly manage their time and resources without me having to micromanage them" environment. Taking a short break every half hour or so is perfectly normal and natural. But what comes naturally is taking a short break when you hit a natural pause point in whatever you're working on. Taking a short break whenever the laptop dings to let you know a rare enemy has appeared is absolutely going to interfere with your flow. Commented Jul 10 at 1:25

The fact that you ask if it's OK, and more importantly, that you're thinking about "bringing this up" is a clear indicator that this game is running your life to some extent.

Bringing it up is an absolute hard no.

Coworkers won't have the same perspective as you and will judge you harshly if you tell them you intend to "play a game" while working. Keep in mind that such judgements might not manifest as a "no you can't do that" response. They could say "sure you can play World of Warcraft on mini-breaks, as long as you get your work done, go ahead"-- and then in the back of their mind they've silently and permanently tagged you as immature.

You have to consider that what you're doing with this game and how you feel about it is incomprehensible to many coworkers. For example, I have no idea what you're even talking about in the first 2 paragraphs of your question, nor do I care to understand. From my perspective, it's just a game that teenagers play for fun.

In other words bringing this up makes you vulnerable to judgement and will color the opinion your coworkers have about you.

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    I used to try to find something to read to break the stress I was having at the office. That was visually bad for me as others thought that I was not working hard enough. (Doing the design work for half the office.) Optics matter in office politics. Coworkers do not have the same perspective nor the same issues. Managers don't know about internal stress and judge on the optics.
    – David R
    Commented Jun 27 at 14:34

If you want to get purely theoretical it is unethical as it is time theft.

Of course by that logic going to the toilet is also time theft. So is going out for a smoke, getting up to stretch your legs, getting up to make a coffee etc

Your boss has already given you your answer:

we're all adults, I expect everyone to responsibly manage their time and resources without me having to micromanage them

If your work is done on time and you're not abusing the system then this falls in that grey area of life. Do your work however way you wish and if asked about it then thats your sign you overdid it.


Does it distract your attention in a way that it affects your job?

I sometimes listen to radio/music/podcasts while working. I sometimes chat with friends while doing a break. I may play a quick game in the break. As long as it does not distract me or decrease (maybe even increase) my focus, that's fine, ans that means that while doing complicated tasks i wont do that.

The main problem about what you describe (for me) would be that waiting for these events and giving them priority to interrupt the work would destroy or affect my focus and attention, not only in the moment when the event hits (and may interrupt a productive session), but also while waiting (that would be for the case for me and my Job, maybe you don't have that problem in your Job/Position).

So yes, it's most likely affecting your productivity. If your productivity is still enough is not possible to judge here.


One factor that I don't think anyone has addressed yet is how your work hours are structured could matter for the longer encounters.

As long as they don't collectively add up to significantly more time spend on breaks than were normal when you were working in the office the the short encounters shouldn't be an issue. Doing large numbers 5 minute ones that collectively add up to more than normal break times, especially back to back might be if your working hours are constrained.

If you're just expected to do 8 hours a day (or 40 hours a week) you're probably fine, especially combined with a high trust "we're all adults" policy as long as you extend when you stop work so that you're still getting your expected hours in. If you still have an expectation of working 8-5 every day, or even just a core hour policy (ex 8 hours between 6am and 7pm, with 4 hours work and an hour for lunch between 10 and 3) I would recommend not doing more than a few minutes/hour worth of gaming breaks during those periods.

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