What if play was an essential part of work? What if it has been the missing ingredient that has forced people to adopt an unhealthy, serious attitude towards work, career and their lives in general?
The average American spends about 1,700 hours every year working. Worse still, are the much higher numbers worked by people in positions of power.
If your life is work, does that mean that you are doomed to live in ‘the stark business world’ for the rest of your days? Everyone likes a little fun, and now – there are more reasons than ever to embrace this new culture of productive play at work.
With some of America’s largest companies benefitting from the ‘play’ model, perhaps it is time to investigate exactly how ‘fun’ is making a comeback in the world of business. So much more can be achieved, when play is involved. Just look at companies like Uncharted Play. .
These visionaries are positively influencing global social change, using play. One of their flagship products, Soccket – is an energy harnessing soccer ball. As people play, kinetic energy is stored, and can be used as an off-the-grid power source in developing countries.
Jessica Matthews and her team are using play to generate renewable energy. In much the same way, play can be used to generate energy within organizations, to trigger a wide range of scientifically proven benefits that facilitate and improve working environments.
New research is surfacing all the time about the incredible benefits of designing play into your average work day. And the effects are far reaching – improving leadership, employee satisfaction and retention, creativity and problem solving – the list goes on!
There are playground moments for everyone looking to implement play into their corporate structure. These moments are where most of the benefits come from, and they are what this book is fundamentally about.
Lionel was a food guy who worked at the Disney Yacht Club Resort in Orlando. Two days earlier while presenting a keynote speech and delivering several other sessions, I learned that every morning a Disney character comes in and allows photos with the participants.
One day it is Woody from Toy Story, the next day it is Cinderella. On day three I was getting my breakfast and there was Lionel, the food service guy. He was creating buzz in a crowd of people, declaring ‘come get a photo with Goofy!’ Participants sprung up to get a photo with Lionel the food guy, because he invoked an environment of playfulness.
The data screams that play leads to increased productivity! When leaders lighten up and create a fun workplace environment, there is a significant increase in the level of employee trust, creativity and communication-leading to lower turnover, higher morale and a strong bottom line. May we allow the playful leader inside us to ignite a new culture of productivity through the spirit of purposeful fun.
People love to play and it has been marginalized for too long in corporate business culture. My blog will help orientate you in the new research of play, and how it can contribute to building amazing business cultures like the ones you see at Google, South West Airlines and Zappos. Lighten up, sit back and prepare for the serious world of play!