Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum… it may be a work day but let’s have a little bit of fun! Today is talk like a pirate day! An opportunity for us all to be a little bit silly. But how do you cultivate play at work?
But why, when we have so much going on, should we take the time to cultivate play at work? Sanity. All work and no play can make most of go a little bit off the rails. We can lose focus, get bogged down in the day to day and struggle to stay motivated. As entrepreneurs, when so much is reliant on us, I would say that makes it worthwhile to take some time to play.
Play can take a couple of forms in a workplace:
- scope to stop work and meditate/throw a ball around/dance party/dogs in the office/Friday drinks OR
- being a little silly in the day to day to make the hours you spend together as a team a little more fun
I have always been a little bit silly. I understand that there is a time and place for silliness and when you nail it you can bring simple joy to the office. We spend so much of our time at work being serious when it comes to our peers we should be able to be a little silly. An easy example for you, rather than sending another bland thank you email why not send a meme. It makes people smile and you never know how much they might need that.
I was struck in this Huff Post article by the idea “what if the opposite of play isn’t work but boredom?”. Who is their best self when they are bored? no one i would wager. Boredom manifests itself differently for everyone, for me its a lack of focus and finding the simplest answer rather than the best one. Taking a time out for silliness definitely, helps with that. It re-engages my mind and gets the boredom out of my system rather than dominating my work style for the day.
As business owners, especially if you have staff, you have an opportunity to organise play with your team. Not only will it get the boredom out of their systems but shared, non-work stories are the best way to bond as a team. I was inspired by a fellow business owner who takes her teams on a monthly adventure – they’ve had a spa day, been whale watching and skydived. As a group, it pushed them out of their comfort zone and brought them together as a team. I have also heard, for dispersed teams of everyone getting on a video call at the same time and having a drink together and just chatting. Of course, work retreats are a classic way to do this (though I have never been on one as an adult).
How do you cultivate play with your staff and clients?