728x90 AD TOP

Mar 20, 2012

tags: , , ,

Top Benefits of Playing at Work

Learn how play is part of the well-being of a person and why it can be a positive differentiating factor for companies.
Businessman playing
  Today's business environment can be very stressful and demanding. People need to be able to meet deadlines and goals, while dealing with the emotional burdens generated by the dynamics of a team and the personal lives of those who compose it. These factors affect not only the productivity within the company but their ability to innovate. And that's why playing can be a positive differentiating factor for companies.

   Success at work doesn't depend on the amount of time you work, but on how effective and productive is your work. However, sometimes we have so many distractions, even simple tasks become more complicated. Playing at work fosters teamwork, allows employees to release tension, thus better concentrate on their work, and it also allows them to develop their creativity, adaptive and problem-solving skills. At the same time, it provides the body and mind with more energy, and ultimately allows us to be happier.

It’s all about attitude

   Play has been for centuries one of the most powerful learning tools for children and adults. When we are kids, we learn trough games how to work together, follow mutually agreed-upon rules, communicate verbally, use body language and socialize in groups. We continue to refine these skills in adulthood through play. In fact, even our attitude towards playing has a great impact on our lives. When researchers studied preteen children's attitudes about play, they found out that while some kids called almost everything they did "play" others called it "work." At the end of their adolescence, the same children who thought of everything as play were more successful and happier in school and were more content socially than those who saw everything as "work."

Expanding Your Horizons

expanding your horizons, benefits of playing

   It has been proven that games have a positive effect on cognitive health of people, so it seems by dealing with different scenarios, following rules, thinking tactically, making fast decisions and fulfilling numerous objectives, we are keeping our brain fit and better prepared for problem solving. Furthermore, strategy games improve the short-term memory of people.
To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me. - Isaac Newton   
   The games are able to force us to picture ourselves in situations where we've never been, opening our perspectives and forcing us to think differently. We can go from being an elite soldier, who magically recovers of been shot as time pass by, to a child who tries to catch monsters throwing balls, to a general, who is trying to conquer the world or even some angry birds. The games' creativity got no limits. They teach us to adapt to countless situations, which encourage our curiosity, creativity and problem-solving skills.

No fear, No tension…No limits

   Play relieves tension and stress, at the same time it distances us from pain, fear, and other burdens. According to Dr. Catherine Butz from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Burn Center, they are using video games to help kids suffering from intense pain, because they found out a correlation between anxiety and pain. So by distracting patients and keeping anxiety at a minimum, procedures tend to go much more smoothly and be much less painful for the child. Just as games take our anxiety, they can rule out other obstacles, which block the clarity of our minds.

   Anxiety is not the only one that affects companies, so does fear. People are afraid to fail, to propose, to take risks, to discuss, to interact with others, etc. Riley Gibson, CEO at Napkin Labs, said in his post for Inc. Magazine that “many companies develop a culture of fear. Fear of appearing unintelligent, fear of not hitting numbers, etc. While fear might help drive employees to achieve results in the short term, it also can have a devastating effect on innovation.” The constant pressure faced by employees can make them feel insecure about themselves, and thus make them refrain from contributing new ideas, if they do not feel supported by others, or feel in a safe environment to express themselves.

   Given that when we play, we all agree to follow certain rules, we create an atmosphere of equality and mutual respect. Many games, especially board games, demand great interaction between participants, which makes them ideal for removing barriers between people and build relationships.
Anyone playing with you is going to change where your direction is.- Charlie Hunter
   The people we interact with, influence our vision of life. Studies show that an emotionally-insecure individual can replace negative beliefs and behaviors with positive assumptions and actions by living with a secure partner. As in relationships, in a company there will always be some employees who are more self-confident and who have a better social acceptance than others. Through games, we can create the opportunity for these two types of employees to meet, be friends and support each other.

A Catalyst for Positive Socialization

If you're playing somebody who is not you, then you can imagine that you are that person. You can feel like he feels, move like he moves, look like he looks - in your own mind. - Morgan Freeman
   When we were kids who were our friends? Were those with whom we play, right? Through regular play, we learn to trust one another, and we build a sense of community. When we play with others, we develop empathy; Many games require us try to understand the actions and thoughts of others in order to develop our best strategy towards victory. Therefore, during the elapse of a game, players get to know each other. Dr. Kourosh Dini, author of Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents, argues that video games can teach us empathy. “One of the big things about many games is you’re interacting with other people in such a way that you have to actively think about what the other people are doing or thinking in order to either play against them or play them cooperatively. Either way you’ve got to be engaged in trying to think of how is this person learning and what’s this person going to be doing next.” Consequently, games are a great tool to support the integration of employees.

   To sum up, play is part of the well-being of a person. If an employee feels good, it is reflected on his or her work. Likewise, it allows a company to create a culture of joy, creativity, mutual respect and support among its members. Taking into account that people are the ones whom make the difference between companies, being able to retain and attract the best talent, thanks to the culture of our business its something every company should look for.