Posts tagged ‘innovation’

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 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.

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!

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