Using mobile games to reduce stress

That first job right after graduation is a massive milestone, one that comes with excitement and ambition but often also with stress, burnout, and insecurities. In the hopes of proving yourself, the perfectionist takes over which causes a decrease in mental health and wellbeing. The game Pocket Office was designed to combat work-related stress when this occurs and to teach young starters to deal with stress instead of avoiding it.

Who are they?

Around 80% of young adults experience stress related to work. Companies such as VGZ or MentaalBeter are trying to help this target audience with online self-help tools but notice that they are only briefly used even though 70% of these people are looking for online solutions.

"How can we use a mobile game to increase the knowledge on stress but also trigger behavioral change when it comes to managing stress?

Odette Jansen - UX Research - Portfolio Health Game Pocket Office - persona

An ambitious target audience

Meet Diane. Diane is 21 years old and has recently graduated from the University of Applied Sciences where she learned how to become a graphic designer. Upon entering the job market, Diane was overthrown by how hard it was to land a job. Graphic designers are not a rare commodity anymore and Diane is not experienced enough yet to work as a freelancer. A job would really help her in gaining experience and building a resume. After many a job interview, Diane lands what she would call her dream job.

But this is where it starts, Diane is ambitious, wants to prove herself, and works 10 hour days just to show her value to the company. The company is very happy with Diane’s work. She takes on many responsibilities, delivers quality work, and is there for all the launches, office parties, and client meetings. But Diane is tired and stressed. She is afraid to take breaks because she might not finish her work, and if she doesn’t finish her work, she might get fired. Diane is a perfectionist.

Odette Jansen - UX Research - Portfolio Health Game Pocket Office - research findings

Clever design choices

Best practices and methods have been used to optimize the conversion rates by using the following UX methods.

Odette Jansen - UX Research - Portfolio Health Game Pocket Office - Personalisation

The power of personalization

Personalization allows the game to fit seamlessly into the lifestyle of the user, making it an almost invisible part of their learning process. This way the game will not feel like work but a moment to relax.

By adding a quiz, the application will learn about the user, which in turn optimizes the game.


The users are not hardcore gamers, but implementing gamification helps in drawing and retaining a user’s attention. Gamification is used in Pocket Office to help with showing progression and rewards.

Odette Jansen - UX Research - Portfolio Health Game Pocket Office - Rewards
Odette Jansen - UX Research - Portfolio Health Game Pocket Office - Notification screen

The user is in control & notifications trigger the need for stress release

The user basically creates the environment in which is being played. They set up their own office, their own colleagues, and their behaviors. Kinda like the sims. This gives the players total control over their own experience. With the help of notifications, the users get triggered to relax and perform small mindfulness exercises.

Working together

This health game has been presented at games for health and has gained interest from several health care institutions, such as VGZ and game development companies, such as &Ranj. There are no plans for further development as of this time.

Do you have a project in mind?

I would love to talk to you about the possibilities for your brand. You can contact me via: or via phone at +31(0)6 1191 8501.