Why work and play go hand in hand

6 Jun 2019

Posted by Martin Gordon

Play can take many forms but at the most basic level, it is an activity that creates enjoyment and engagement. Pamela Meyer says in her book From Workplace to Playspace:

Play in the organizational system allows for dynamic engagement Pamela Meyer, Workplace to Playspace, 2010

This attribute of play, that it is engaging, makes play powerful as a tool to us. Play can be used to engage us in our tasks, to help us confront the daunting problems that we may often ignore or sweep aside. If we approach these with a playful mindset we are able to open up avenues of discovery and knowledge that can help us to build strategies and solutions. We already use this in our work life. How many times have you heard the phrase “let’s play it out”? This is a useful phrase because we can literally play it out using play methods like Lego SeriousPlay, Game Storming and Improv.

On top of play being a useful tool in the workplace for discovery, idea creation, knowledge building and strategising, play can have many beneficial effects. Bright HR have researched this with the wellbeing expert Cary Cooper and have found that fun and play are important to the workforce and can have benefits to the organisation. These benefits include:

 • Increased productivity

 • Lower stress levels

 • Reduced workforce absences

This research is based on play being an activity of fun with no workplace value other than the wellbeing of the workforce. As the research was carried out in partnership with a wellbeing expert perhaps this is to be expected.

What if we could make the activity of play productive?

If we can make the activity of play productive in terms of the work that needs to be carried out then we can achieve the benefits to the wellbeing of the workforce, which benefits the organisation but also further benefits to the organisation such as greater collaboration, more abundant ideas, greater knowledge sharing, less habitual thinking and so much more.

By way of example. Improv is a tool that can be used in the workplace that can be used to uncover and share knowledge, play out scenarios and promote collaboration through active listening (How Improv techniques can help your business).

Lego SeriousPlay has a method that can be used for any number of issues in the workplace. For instance, team building, solving problems and even defining the values of the organisation. Perhaps designing the business or the value proposition by coupling Lego SeriousPlay with Strategyzer’s value proposition canvas.

Game Storming provides activities that likewise can share knowledge and help with problem-solving, design and so much more.

Looking back to how seriously children take play, there is a good reason for that. Through play most children are able to learn to stand, walk and use their voices as well as the basics of a language by the age of three. Play allows us to push boundaries and see what we can do and our methods at MundoNovus are able to bring these benefits into your organisation.

Martin Gordon
Posted by Martin Gordon

Martin has worked in creative innovation for over two decades spending time in the music industry working with musicians on production and also as part of Ministry of Sound helping to bring their music online as streaming media. From there Martin has worked in the digital sphere as an AV Media Specialist and also in design and development for Education, Healthcare and Marketing agencies. Martin has run his own boutique digital agency for over 10 years alongside MundoNovus which is a creative consultancy using LEGO® SERIOUSPLAY®, Improv, Game Storming and Design Thinking workshops to help businesses overcome problems, help expose new ideas and break you out of old thinking patterns through structured play. These techniques promote new ways of learning, innovating and engaging your whole organisation. The result will see your organisation becoming dynamic and resilient enough to cope with and lead in this environment of perpetual change.

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