April 10, 2013
Who Works At Work Any More? Play Instead (Part 2)
These factors have caused us to manufacture and purchase silly things like toilet bowl brushes designed by big name home fashion experts because if there’s 18 to choose from, we’re often going to buy the one that’s thoughtfully crafted, so creativity is a highly sought after talent in the workforce.
Enter playtime again.
While the jury is still out for scientific data regarding play and productivity, it’s kind of a common sense thing. If you’re happy, you’ll be more creative in your work. If you’re more creative at work, the company you work for will likely produce a better, more insightful, intuitive product or service and will be more successful overall than the next place full of desk jockeys pushing around TPS reports; so play at work is essential for creative growth and development.
“Business experts agree that we’re living in a time when traits like imagination and creativity are of the utmost importance in business. Richard Florida calls it the “creative age,” and the aforementioned author, Daniel Pink, has dubbed it the “conceptual age.”
“At Remedy Health Media, a health information and technology company just outside Washington, social media manager Stuart Perkins has another theory about why play is critical.”
“I’ve been in fun offices like this and ones that were not as fun, and the retention rates are much higher when you have a few fun things to do around the office,” he said, particularly among millenials.
“We have an extremely talented, but fairly younger workforce who expects the office to be more than just a desk and a chair,” Perkins said. “My coworkers love having a chance to take mini-breaks and rest their minds before moving onto a new task. Some of our most creative business ideas come from this ‘downtime,'” he added.
You’re probably waiting for the “but…” statement, and yes there is one. If the playtime isn’t utilized from the top down, it won’t be utilized at all.
By our nature, we’re driven by crowd psychology. The idea that “the behavior of the crowd takes on focus and form based on the input of the individuals who make up the group. Within this framework, people who wish to become part of the existing group will make a choice to identify with the prevailing mindset. In some cases, this may mean minimizing or abandoning behaviors or beliefs that are not in harmony with the majority.”
In an economy where job security is perceived as pretty shaky, if the boss doesn’t use the slide or take bike rides during break time, why would you? It’ll probably make you look lazy right?
That’s why the boss has to get it started.
“We have a TV and lounge area. But I’d be afraid of looking unproductive and under-worked if I utilized it,” wrote Lauren La Franca in a comment on HLNTV.com. “The rest seem to agree too because the lounge area has been sat on once since it was implemented.”
“It’s up to management to change that perception,” says Craig McAnsh, president of Native Marketing.
“It has been a problem for many employees because they may feel that the idea ‘play’ is just given lip service by management,” he said. “Knowing it’s required is the only way this works. And the only way this happens is for senior staff to lead by example. Top down. If you have a ping-pong table, but don’t play, your … employees will not play.”
So, be a maverick! If you ever want to get paid to play foosball, you’ve got to tell your boss to read this blog, and do your own research to back it up. You can start out by sounding all educated and worldly with this quote.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato
Image Credit: Pincasso / Shutterstock