Posts tagged ‘workplace’

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.

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 22, 2011

How Play Affects the Workplace

Positives and NegativesThis is a very simple portrayal of how play can affect the workplace environment. These factors were collected through interviews with corporate employees and research of published journal articles.

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