Role of play at the workplace
I once shared a template of a study timetable on social media. One of my colleagues noticed that it had all things covered; you know… study time, homework, and eating time, snack time even sleep time. My colleague asked where play time was. I jokingly answered that we were smart kids who had no time for play, something which sparked a long conversation about the importance of play to not only kids but also adults.
If you have been following us online, you would know that we are a relatively playful organization so to speak. We take the saying that all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy quite literally in every sense. Thanks to our operations department, we have team activities weaved in our work calendar all the time. You must have seen the team building activities, the thank Ops it’s Friday and the recent one being the five day long team retreat at the Kenyan Coast.
During these activities, team members are just as serious at playing as they usually are at hitting their KPIs. (Keeping over 2 Million learners happy requires that team members work hard to achieve a coherent goal. In other words, systems thinking, this is a whole topic for a future post.)
Importance of play
Studies have proven that play creates a conducive environment for creativity. This is why companies like LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® have developed innovative process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Any form of play in the workplace, be it board games, simple ice-breakers, role plays and many more, are a way to encourage creativity.
We cannot highlight creativity and leave out problem solving skills. Any form of play improves the players’ problem solving skills. These are soft skills that people can only learn while working as a group. I believe this is why we always have an ice-breaker at the start of every meeting. They make people to think on their toes about what a specific scenario in the shortest time possible.
Most forms of play encourage teamwork and leadership. When you give a junior team member a leading role in a playing team, it encourages them to take initiative even in their daily work. It is a way of breaking barriers caused by the ranks that exist in an organization.
Ever seen how kids are free with their imagination during play? This is why it is important for us to stop and play from time to time so as to allow ourselves to explore our creative reserves. Everyone no matter their role is a creative being. Play also stretches your brain and enhances your IQ.
In conclusion, whether it is that workout, meditation, learning a new skill, or playing a new musical instrument; it is important to know that it is not a waste of time. Play comes in different forms, all geared toward developing a wholesome individual and a more productive team.