Posts tagged ‘adult play’

March 13, 2013

More Than Just A Paycheck

Is there any evidence that play positively affects the workplace?

Companies that are consistently rated the “Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune Magazine offer services and programs aimed to make the workday less stressful and more enjoyable for employees. Services such as high quality childcare, free laundry, on-site life coaching and health care, and afternoon yoga classes help the human connection within a company while reassuring the employees that they are valued. Most companies on this list have consistently seen an increase in productivity and revenue as a result of offering such perks. Another great advantage of allowing such programming is that employees feel more fulfilled because they are satisfying more than just a financial need by working.

One manager at SAS, the number one rated company by Fortune Magazine, says that “people stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don’t leave SAS because they feel regarded – seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason.”

Introducing play into the business model is also a meaningful characteristic that earns companies a place on this list. Some playful aspects of the companies on the top list include: monthly parties, rock climbing walls, art classes, Foosball tables, razor scooters for transportation, and scratch-and-sniff office wallpaper!

Ranked at number forty-four, Intuit (makers of TurboTax) encourages workers to take four hours a week of “unstructured time” to play with new ideas and inspire creativity in their own ways. Google, number four on the list, also allows time for employees to pursue independent activities during the workday. This recess-like period provides employees with a time to be creative and to de-stress!

These innovative companies have redefined the workplace in terms of expected employee behaviors and the rigid, strict roles we have previously set for them. Encouraging playfulness strengthens social bonds, workplace satisfaction, and overall well-being in a way that has benefits for an entire company. By investing some time and effort into showing employees they are valued, companies can expect to see a decrease in turnover and absenteeism, and an increase in productivity, efficiency, health, and morale!

The bottom line is: a paycheck is no longer enough to satisfy the needs of working Americans! The workplace has the potential to offer programs, services, and an environment that can help balance our lives. Check out some of the qualities of these companies that make them the best…Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Companies to Work For

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December 4, 2012

Workplace Remedy

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.

May 2, 2012

Screen-Free Week for Adults

The more time kids spend in front of screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative play…and the same is true for adults! Playtime isn’t just for kids…

March 2, 2012

Dear Play-full Soul:

I bet you were once a curious young explorer conquering the nearby woods and adventuring to the very top of the playground! As a child, playtime was when you connected with yourself and the world around you. Unfortunately, somewhere along the journey from childhood adventures to adulthood responsibilities, we lose the magic of play.

The topic of adult play is often overlooked or misunderstood. Those of us who are play advocates focus on bringing awareness to making sure our children are regularly engaging in playful behaviors in school and at home. For those who are not, you’ve certainly heard or read a news report about the current state of childhood. Our children need to play to efficiently process information, spark innovation and originality, inspire creativity, and sustain their overall health.

My question to you is: if these same benefits can be experienced when adults engage in play, why is there not a bigger emphasis on playing throughout the life course?

Play creates the foundation for a happy, balanced life in childhood and adulthood.

Play is energizing, refreshing, and a wonderful form of stress relief! You may be thinking “even for adults?” I’m here to tell you, “Yes! Especially for adults.” There’s no reason you should ever outgrow the need for play!

How will you play today?

February 5, 2012

A Play-full Identity

What does it mean to be an adult?

My most recent awareness has been focused on what the role of adult really means and how play fits into adulthood. Think about these questions and be aware of them as you go through your daily routines. Remember, your adulthood is what you make of it! It’s okay to break out of expected roles and behaviors to engage in playful activities as an “adult.” Embrace the shift in perspective that will swing you toward a more balanced life.

Why does the role of an adult have to be a serious one?

January 24, 2012

Adults at Play

Check out this Huffington Post article from Dr. Tian Dayton, “When Adults Play.”

When Adults Play

Play is defined by researchers as an activity that encourages positive emotions and allows people to complete high-order relational goals, such as getting to know each other, learning about each other or engaging in a mutual interest together, at a higher rate than expected . Play is accompanied by smiling and laughter, and should also allow participants to control their onset and their offset in the activity. In other words, play is not forced, it encourages autonomy, spontaneity and creativity. Friends or couples who play together report feeling greater intimacy and closeness. And this sense of closeness develops at a faster rate than normal.Play bonds those who engage in it and helps to shake off tensions and aggressions that might interfere with work or relationships.

Grown ups forget to play. But play, it turns out, is just as important for adults as it is for children.
Adults spend too little time at play according to research, and would benefit greatly from spending more time at it. In the workplace, for example, “adult play helps to alleviate boredom, release tensions, prevent aggression, and create workgroup solidarity,” says Norman C. H. Wong of the University of Hawaii . Play also facilitates organizational learning, creativity, community-building and cohesion, and overall, enhances adaptively and attentiveness.

Almost every species of animal engages in some form of play. Play helps all species, animal and human alike, to learn the adaptive behaviors that increase their chances of survival. Play performs two important functions.

  •  First, it allows both animals and humans a safe way in which to release aggressions.
  • Second, it provides practice in behaviors that are typically associated with adulthood.

We all recognize child play, “you be the Mommy and I’ll be the Daddy; now you be the teacher and I’ll be your student.” Children are constantly slipping in and out of roles, releasing pent-up frustrations, becoming, for a moment, the admonishing authority or the nurturing, all-knowing parent. This gives them a chance to gain some relief from the confines and frustrations of their child roles, and at the same time practice at more mature roles.

Adults need “role relief” and “role variety” just as much as children do. Spending time in a balanced palate of roles allows the self several forms of expression, guards against “role fatigue” and provides “role relief” as well as practice taking on new roles. Getting stuck in one role, say that of “mom” or “worker” can reduce our sense of spontaneity and aliveness according to J.L Moreno, father of of the role play therapy known as psychodrama. Moreno, who wished to be remembered as the doctor who brought laughter into psychiatry, felt that people who are happy in their lives, tend to play a variety of roles that allow for rest, relief and rejuvenation. This playing of a variety of roles according to Moreno increases spontaneity and creativity. If, as Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living” Moreno’s psychodramatist wife Zerka says that……… “the unlived life, is not worth examining!”

Click here for the link

December 18, 2011

“All Work and No Play? There’s A Better Way”

Check out my guest blog post for Playworks on how play positively affects the workplace! 

“All Work and No Play? There’s A Better Way.” Posted 12/15/11

What adjectives come to mind when thinking about play? Some common responses may be: fun, imaginative, enchanting, elusive, and creative. What if I were to tell you that when play is incorporated into the workplace, it could also be described as: productive, healthy, innovative, and profitable? By shifting our business model to one that embraces play, we can revitalize the work environment, decrease stress, and promote fresh creativity and job satisfaction! Here are just some of the benefits of promoting a playful workplace:

1) Play can increase productivity, innovation, and creativity.Incorporating play into the workplace produces valuable results. Risk taking, confidence in presenting novel ideas, and embracing unusual and fresh perspectives are common characteristics associated with play that are also integral to a successful work environment.

2) Play can increase job satisfaction, well-being, and strengthen social bonds. Employees experiencing positive emotions are more cooperative, more social, and perform better when faced with complex tasks. Encouraging play will increase employee happiness, and happier workers have been shown to be more productive.

3) Play can decrease absenteeism, stress, and health care costs.Allowing play not only shows employees that they are valued, it also helps them lead a more balanced life. The activity and stimulation involved in play lessens the stress of work, which leads to less illness and a more positive attitude.

Play in the workplace can manifest in various forms. Businesses that support play may allow a recess-like period where employees can explore creative outlets and pursue independent activities. These workplaces may also offer playful amenities like rock climbing walls, game rooms, or scooters for transportation. When an employer does not support play, employees who recognize the benefits it has on their performance and well-being can still find ways to incorporate it into their workday. Creating a more playful environment at work can be as easy as putting a toy on your desk!

With a paradigm shift in workplace views on play, we can change the way a meaningful and successful work experience is defined. The emphasis should not only be on monetary gain and economic success, but on leading balanced lives. Employees who are happier and healthier have been shown to perform better on the job… and play can be a catalyst for these advantages!

Play is productive… especially in the workplace! There is no reason you should ever outgrow the need for play.

December 10, 2011

Older-Adult Playfulness

The Summer 2011 issue of the American Journal of Play contains a wonderful article titled “Older-Adult Playfulness: An Innovative Construct and Measurement for Healthy Aging Research,” by  Careen Yarna and Xinyi Qian!

Through using a previously developed Adult Playfulness Scale (The Adult Playfulness Scale, Glynn and Webster, 1992), the researchers created a valid and reliable measure of playfulness in older adults. Research will continue in an upcoming article about the relationship between this behavior in older adults and healthy aging. The hope is not only to spread awareness of the significance and relevance adult playfulness has in our lives, but to also establish scientific credibility for studies of playfulness.

Abstract:

Few studies of adult playfulness exist, but limited research on older adults and playfulness suggests that playfulness in later life improves cognitive, emotional, social, and psychological functioning and healthy aging overall. Older adults represent a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population, underscoring the need to understand the aging process. In this article, the authors report on the first three steps of a four-step, multimethod approach to test the hypothesis that playfulness is an important component of healthy aging in older adults. Step 1 determines the characteristics of older-adult playfulness, extending Barnett’s (2007) study of young-adult playfulness and recruiting participants from a different age group (older adults rather than younger adults). Based on findings from Step 1, in Step 2 the authors develop the Older Adult Playfulness (OAP) scale to measure playfulness in older adults. In Step 3, they validate the reliability of the OAP scale. A forthcoming manuscript will report on the relationship between older adult playfulness and healthy aging (Step 4). Key words: adult playfulness; child playfulness; Older-Adult Playfulness (OAP) scale; older adults

Check out the article here!

September 21, 2011

Encourage Creativity!

Many of the factors involved with creative and successful functioning in the business world mirror the characteristics commonly associated with engaging in play! These include risk taking, confidence in presenting novel ideas, embracing unusual and fresh perspectives, and acting without consciousness of social approval.

“Creativity is the first step in innovation, and innovation is absolutely vital for long-term corporate success. The work environment within an organization can make the difference between the production of new, useful ideas for innovative business growth and the continuance of old, progressively less useful routines.” –Teresa Amabile

Encouraging play will increase creativity in the workplace, which will also boost innovation, productivity, morale, and job satisfaction. Each of these are factors that contribute to a more successful work environment! Try to find ways to incorporate a little playfulness into your workday each day, and notice any changes in your overall attitude or work ethic!

Remember…if you’re stuck on something, try taking a break from thinking about it and just play about it. You may surprise yourself with the answers you receive!

September 7, 2011

Growing Acceptance

As adults, we are often made to feel guilty for engaging in play because it is somehow perceived as being unproductive, childish, and a waste of time. I’m here to tell you that there is no need to feel embarrassed! Playing is an essential part of living a healthy, fulfilling life! Even though adult play has yet to be accepted by mainstream society as important to our health and wellness, we have recently found ways to incorporate it into some very clever places!

Piano Stairs 

Subway Slide

Adult-Sized Sandbox Check out the article!

The Fun Theory – an initiative presented by Volkswagen that is dedicated to using fun and playful measures to change people’s behaviors for the better!

Improv EverywhereA group of people who pull pranks to “cause chaos and joy in public places.”

Wouldn’t any of those things brighten your day? You should never feel embarrassed or guilty when engaging in playful behaviors, just simply enjoy it!

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