Recently one of our vendors hosted a networking breakfast meeting where the speaker enlightened us on the importance of play in the workplace. I’m not talking about getting a playground installed on your front courtyard or anything. I’m talking about weaving bits of fun into your every day work day. For some reason play is viewed as something that children do and once we’re all grown up we should be more serious, especially at work. According to It Pays To Play, a study done by BrightHR, the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.
Play not only promotes creativity, innovation, and stronger relationships, but it can increase your profitability and reduce costs in health care, and employee turn over.
The benefits of play at work are immeasurable. Here are just a few:
- Reduce stress. When we play, we trigger the release of endorphins, our natural “feel good” hormones which boost your mood and improve your overall sense of well being.
- Helps develop and improve social skills. Just like children, adults can improve their verbal communication skills, body language, cooperation, and teamwork skills through play.
- Creates stronger relationships. We spend a lot of our waking hours with our coworkers so why not improve the ability to get along? Play helps strengthen bonds making it easier to resolve conflict.
- Decreases sick days. Play at work helps employees lead a more balanced life, and actually has been shown to decrease absenteeism and health care costs.
- Boosts productivity and creativity. When we play we allow ourselves to discover something new, and stimulate our imaginations which also lead to better problem solving skills.
Here are some ideas on ways you can incorporate play into your workplace:
- Get outside! Leave the stuffy meeting room behind and hold a meeting in the fresh air.
- Start your meeting with a quick game such as musical chairs or charades.
- Allow employees to personalize their workspace with photos and other mementos.
- Plan activities for the staff to give them an opportunity to get to know each other outside of the regular work environment.
At Helm Operations, we’ve recognized the benefits of play and incorporate it into our daily routines. We host lunch BBQs for the staff, monthly social events, and we start meetings with shout outs to team members recognizing them for their hard work. We play when we need a mental refresh and it shows in our company culture and our overall productivity.
If your company is looking to boost productivity and employee moral all while lowering absenteeism and turnover, you should consider injecting more playtime. It makes work much more enjoyable and benefits the company’s overall objectives!