Posts tagged ‘playfulness’

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

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.

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?

January 3, 2012

A Play-full New Year

TwoThousand&Twelve! I hope you left some room for play in your New Year’s resolutions! If you haven’t yet, take a few moments to think about how you can incorporate more playful behaviors and activities into this year. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you =)

Welcoming play into your daily life can be simple!

  • Sing more often! In the shower, while cooking, driving, cleaning, etc.
  • Bring a small toy for your desk at work (or for a co-workers desk)
  • Take five minutes to Dance About It in the morning!
  • Play “I Spy” with someone in line at the grocery store
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter and share your playtime with dogs who will also benefit
  • Skip, don’t walk, to a meeting…you’ll be in a better mood when you get there
  • Make funny faces using your dinner food
  • Turn off the TV and do something outside! Climb a tree, skip stones, hike, explore, adventure!
  • Visit a swingset and see how high you can get

Make a pledge to yourself to engage in play-full behaviors and activities this new year! Play is not a luxury, it is invaluable to our health and well-being!

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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