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There are so many benefits of play at work and much research to now show how playing can benefit adults as much as children. Never has the need been so great to find new ways to get the best out of teams whilst supporting wellbeing.
Far from being a frivolous pass time, play is rich in transferable skills which can support a healthy working environment. Playing together at work will help your team practice and develop a wide variety of skills essential to work – and life. Look at all these amazing skills you could be supporting your staff to develop – all while they are having fun!
A play workshop creates a safe, contained environment for employees to be able to express what they are feeling related to the session (excited, nervous, energised) without fear of retribution. With practice, your team members can build on this and recognise how they feel in pressurised work situations and learn strategies for managing and even using these feelings to their advantage (not be managed by nerves).
Many games – even seemingly “silly” or “goofy” ones have elements which require strategy or quick thinking. Playing helps your team practice making swift changes to stories or ideas or plans and let go of anything which isn’t working.
Playing creative games requires each member of your team to practice talking, expressing ideas and even making each other laugh. Comic timing and reading the room are key skills for presentation and these are hugely present in playing games together. Coming from a Performing Arts background, we have lots of tips & tricks up our sleeve to help you nail that presentation!
Firstly, we know that Laughter is the best medicine. We also know that spending time in “here and now” is good for us and can lower anxiety. When we play together, we achieve both; we are totally in the moment and we inevitably laugh together. And we know that laughing lowers stress, which in turn boosts wellbeing. At the beginning of a play-based workshop, members of your team may feel nervous or unsure, but as the magic of play takes over, the fun and laughter increases, bring a sense of wellbeing, togetherness and of achievement for having overcome initial nerves.
Many creative games require turn taking, listening, considering what is best for the whole group. Rule number one of any drama-based activity or game: to look good yourself you must help the others on your group look good. What better take away into the world of work than this?
At the end of a play at work session, you and your team will feel energised and will have shared many new and fun experiences, They say a change is as good as a rest and having been in a totally different environment, immersed in fun and games, your team will be energised. They will carry this energy, confidence and sense of wellbeing into their next task, and the next.. Playing together, laughing together makes us feel happy. Feeling happy helps us to be more focused and more productive.
In business, in life, relationship is key. Having played together, and shared an experience you will feel more connected to the people you’ve played with. You have created a new bond. Members of teams across your organisation can now communicate, cooperate and work across teams to get things done. It is no longer just a person from another team at the end of an email, but a person with whom you’ve shared a real, human connection. A much better, more efficient way to work, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s a final word from Irene Lyon, MSC, Biomedical and Health Science, which sums uo nicely all we’ve been saying about why playing at work is so essential for you and your team!
“A final musing on Fun.FUN. It’s a small word, but it means big things. When we have fun, it means that we are engaged in what we are doing. It means that we are present with our exploration, and it means that there is a playfulness that leads to discovery, growth, and new neural connections.
When we are having fun, our nervous system is in a good place. Fun is also another way of saying that we feel safe in our environment. It means that our system feels like it has the containment to explore, take risk, and make mistakes without judgement, shame, or injury. Fun means that we want to keep doing it – and that what we are doing is sustainable.”Quote on the benefits of play & fun by Irene Lyon, MSC
Read about our Team Building Workshops which support Staff Wellbeing
We have lots more articles about the benefits of play in our News and Events section