Thanks to our fast-paced and responsibility-driven lives, it’s rare that adults have time to engage in play. If you compare your adult life to childhood though, you more than likely had plenty of time to engage in play as a child, not to mention encouragement from adults in your life.
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Fortunately, some top-level companies, including Google, have recognized the value of allowing employees to engage in some playtime at work. Keep reading to learn some reasons why it might not be a good thing that many adults now sacrifice the playtime that they valued so much as kids.
Play Can Encourage Learning
Sometimes, play can help people learn new things, especially if they ordinarily feel shy or under pressure while at work. Playing encourages a person to view the world differently, which often means he or she ends up acquiring new skills through play without consciously realizing it.
Also, because play is generally a relaxed activity, it can be especially helpful for individuals who may doubt their abilities or feel as if they’re not able to learn new skills.
Playtime Can Make Work More Pleasant
Some jobs are characteristically high-stress careers. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who work in them are bound for days at work that are filled with unhappiness. Telling people it’s okay to be playful at work within reason can be the key to a higher level of contentment.
Sometimes, activities that permit playtime can be very simple, such as making a large magnetic board available and putting word magnets on it so people can make funny phrases out of them. There’s no reason why playtime has to be complex. After all, when you were a kid, you probably spent hours having fun with rocks and sticks in the backyard and usually came inside with a smile on your face.
Playtime Can Create Healthy Levels Of Competition
Sometimes, workers need gentle prodding to stay productive at work, and that too, can come as a form of play. For example, you can turn a group task into a game by challenging everyone to see who can get it done the fastest or in the way that’s most thorough.
Even if you don’t offer official prizes, at least the winners get some satisfaction from the recognition of their colleagues. Lighthearted competitions can also bring out sides of people that usually stay hidden, especially if they are shy by nature.
Playing Can Also Foster Cooperation
Although workplace games can cause people to compete against one another, they can also nurture a sense of cooperation. Teamwork and trust building are important ingredients for any worthwhile workplace, but it can be hard to make them occur solely on their own without exterior input.
The next time you sense employees are getting a little disgruntled, break people into teams and try to make the task fun.
Play Can Reduce Anxiety
People often engage in things like smoking or excessive snacking when they are feeling stressed out. Try offering healthier options by putting out things like coloring books and building blocks so people can get engrossed in those when they need to take breathers for sanity reasons.
Often, doing activities that keeps the hands busy can be very soothing, even if people don’t take part in them for large amounts of time.
You’ve now learned several reasons why it’s often very useful to incorporate playtime into days at work. Doing so can make people more satisfied with their jobs, not to mention make them able to perform their tasks more competently, especially when working in the company of others.