Or, how to enjoy working!
Corporations can be characterized as dehumanizing, impersonal, and strict places of regulation and specialization. Most companies focus all their energy on the numbers (profit) and almost none on spirit (employee morale, job satisfaction, etc.)
Unfortunately, this structure separates our work from the potential it has to be meaningful and enjoyable. Our current business model creates an atmosphere of competition, where employees are only valued for their productivity. What office-life (and what our entire perspective of work) needs is a paradigm shift in the way we think about the success of companies and employees. We can create an environment where employees enjoy working! We can create a work environment that fulfills more than just a financial need.
The catalyst behind this shift? PLAY. Play can provide the missing link between productivity and success in the workplace, and finding joy and satisfaction in our work. Dr. Stuart Brown believes that work and play are mutually supportive. He says that “we need the newness of play, its sense of flow, and being in the moment. We need the sense of discovery and liveliness that it provides. We also need the purpose of work, the economic stability it offers, the sense that we are doing service for others, that we are needed and integrated into our world.”
The confluence of work and play can redefine our workplace expectations!
- Play helps create social connections and integrates us into an environment in a way that would diffuse the problem of alienation
- It offers us the opportunity to form new relationships with individuals, reclaim our own sense of joy, and connect with the creative aspects of our jobs in a new way
- Engaging in play also boosts creativity and innovation, causing an increase in productivity and job satisfaction
- Employees may also experience a decrease in stress levels after behaving playfully! Decreased stress leads to less illness, which results in lower health care costs… (food for thought)
- Wait, there’s more! Less absenteeism and a lower turnover rate can also result from a more playful work environment
If you’re feeling stagnant at work, try incorporating some playful behaviors or activities into your day (and be mindful of the effects)! It’s an easy way to revive your energy and balance yourself.