How do you fill those idle workaday moments? Computer golf, a quick pint, a little gossip? For a section of managers across the globe it is a round of simulated business, or management games, that gets them going. The idea: to simulate running a company in an imaginary business environment. Teams of four or five go through a series of rounds making decisions on the running of a company ranging from setting wages to the effects of crises in Russia.
Peritas, the training arm of ICL, and Dutch MCC Games are veteran games organisers - running national competitions and European grand finals for nations' hottest teams. Jan Poelmann, managing director of MCC, says the games are 'a combination of fun and learning', and that people take them very seriously. John Friend, manager of business simulation at Peritas, can bear this out. 'When the Germans didn't win the 1990 European Management Championships they picked up their bat and ball and went home.' They have not been seen since.
More usually, Poelmann says: 'The Germans are quiet and logical, while the Greeks are always on the move, wheeling and dealing.' Finns display their prowess at the bar, while the Irish like taking risks and having a joke. Is this real life though? 'Oh yes!' says Poelmann. 'We are always having to deal with people who cheat, just like in big successful companies.'