Last year at Halloween I wrote a fairly long blog about the positive effects that celebrating this madcap “holiday” has on productivity and performance in the workplace. You can read it here.
Since I’ve been thinking about a series of posts on “play in the workplace,” I thought today might be a good time to “recycle” the post by encouraging you to read it and introduce a couple of ideas about how adult play of various kinds can affect workplace relationships, goodwill toward the organization, customer or client interest and interactions, stress reduction, creativity, innovation, performance, productivity and a host of other workplace issues.
The Halloween article from 2010 reminded me of how important play is in creating a better social atmosphere, especially one of cooperation among teams and coworkers — it’s rather like “recess” for adults. Why do we understand that kids can only tolerate so much focus on work and the strictures of the classroom and need regular breaks to play and socialize with other kids, but don’t apply that understanding to adults? It’s not just a child’s need. It’s a human need at all ages.
Recently, I was writing an article, A High Performance and Productivity Secret: Take A Break. I also was reminded by that article of the role which play has in breaking hyperfocus, tension and creativity blocks. I said in the article that the “rule of thumb” is that you have a forty minutes maximum ability to effectively concentrate on one idea or task. After that, performance and productivity go downhill.
Considering the long periods of focus most of us apply to our work, we are in great need of play breaks. Play breaks help sweep away mental cobwebs and give us new and creative perspectives when we return to work.
Play and fun are serious tools in creating better performance and higher productivity.
While I was researching what others have been doing with the idea of play, I came across a great video on exactly that subject from TED. I’ve embedded it below. Enjoy.