Last week we talked about the importance of communication in the workplace and how allowing play to be present encourages this. What’s more – play naturally fosters creativity, collaboration and trust, all three of which create the foundation of a positive working environment.
For a successful, long-lasting business, it’s imperative that employees feel as if more than their financial needs are being satisfied. Play in the workplace meets several of our emotional and even physical needs, forcing us to detach ourselves from chairs, computer monitors and our own compulsions to over think and self-edit. When given the freedom, most adults welcome the opportunity to briefly disengage from work, and this break often brings restored energy, focus and efficiency to the task when resumed.
Play not only benefits employees, it also benefits the company as a whole, encouraging creative thinking and innovation. In an industry where technology threatens to trump our own ingenuity, play can be a driving force behind fresh ideas and growth.
There are many types of exercises that can be considered play, from the very literal, such as a Frisbee game in the parking lot, to the more abstract, such as the drawing exercise led by Tim Brown – CEO of IDEO – at the 2008 Serious Play conference. Tons of great seminars resulted from this symposium, and one of the best discusses the powerful, inextricable connection between play and our ability to think creatively. Nowhere else can this relationship bolster more serious growth and progress than in the workplace.