Playing at work: The key to productivity and innovation

In today’s climate of fast moving technology, heavy workloads and constant connectedness through mobile devices the vast majority of us have left play to the children and replaced it with work and responsibility.

So, we don’t have time for play anymore, it is only for kids….right? Wrong. There are umpteen studies on the benefits of play for children but now we are discovering that continued life-long play into adulthood is equally as important for our creativity, problem solving abilities, new skill development and emotional health.

Play is a doorway to innovation. Play stimulates our imaginations, helping us adapt and solve problems. Play arouses curiosity, which leads to discovery and creativity. In addition, the rewards of learning or mastering a new game teach us that perseverance is worthwhile. Perseverance is a trait necessary for innovation, and it is learned largely through play.

Play is also a powerful catalyst for positive socialization. Through play, children learn how to “play nicely” with others—to work together, follow mutually agreed upon rules, and socialize in groups. As adults, play continues to confer these benefits and has the ability to vastly improve working relationships.

Many of us are working longer and harder, thinking that this will solve the problem of an ever-increasing workload. But we are still falling behind, becoming chronically overwhelmed, and burning out.

Work is where we spend much of our time. That is why it is especially important for us to play during work. Without some recreation, our work suffers. Success at work doesn’t depend on the amount of time you work. It depends upon the quality of your work. And the quality of your work is highly dependent on your well-being.

The Kingbridge Insight for this week: In short, make some time to play at work. Anything can be gamified with a little consideration – leader boards for certain activities, task timing etc. Even a short break to play a game completely unrelated to work has been proven time and time again to relieve stress and trigger creativity or allow a problem to be seen from a different perspective. Play at work may be perceived by some as ‘wasting time’ but in reality it increases overall productivity.