The role of imaginative play is for the most part missing in the modern adult’s life.The art of play has been a core element in psychotherapy with children, and it seems that introducing this element into the lives, curriculum, and work day of adults is always positive.
In one company elements of play were proposed in the capacity of drama exercises, joke telling at meetings, and other methods.
The company that required a ‘joke ticket’ kept it’s employees in groups with funky names and encouraged them to participate. They held a ‘weird hat day’ amongst other fancifully charged events. A savy V.P. of marketing said, “The nature of leisure and relaxation should not be intentionally disassociated with the business of business!”
Many companies are finding that it is well and good to promote the fact that new ideas and inventions are welcome and productive in the basically lachrymose business landscape.
Researchers are finding that the physical manifestation of laughing actually increases positive hormones like serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Hey! Forget running or walking at lunch… Buy a Brent Musburger doll and display it on your desk! Wear a scrolling digital belt buckle with some interesting word on it that makes co-workers laugh, (We suggest: “Lackie”, “plebeian” or “mail room or bust.”
The idea is to basically promote silliness any way that you can. Although silliness has it’s time and place, we truly can find more room for silliness in the hallowed halls of American business. Let’s make our co-workers laugh. Just make sure your bosses know your jocular intention. “yes maam’ (or sir), I was only trying to stir the masses to greater production via humor.” You will either receive a sneer or a smile, but the change in the air will be worth it. Realize that the powers that be will have one question. “Will this increase the bottom line ?” To that you say, “of course not!” but again, even that is a joke because yes! it will! soon enough a certain relaxation will spread among the masses and employees will create better products, ideate new and better concepts, and find creative ways to fix existing problems. How can you beat that?
Remember that the ‘number bullies’ in accounting will inevitably want to find the ROI on the cost of anything relating to these new “play” activities, so you’ll have to consult this post on ways to respond to the staunchies in management. Let them know that play begets creativity. Playing well, begets creativity, and thinking well can never be bad for business.
While we are speaking to the subtext of creativity, why are creative people so enviable? Do they have some magic extra gene that enables them to “figure out how to solve something in a different way?.” The answer is ‘no.’ Then, do they have a special gift for creating something out of nothing? ‘well no… probably not.” While we can’t be sure where creativity comes from, we have ideas as to what sparks it. One thing we can be sure of, is that creative people are not afraid to play, to enjoy a silly moment in time or to create one. To be quite honest, happy people attract and produce more happy people. If your employees are smiling it’s a good thing, if they are not, I suggest play. Silliness, games, anything to get people smiling, whatever it is. If you’re still worried about the bottom line, then worry no more. Even if it is just the rubber duckies in the employee bathrooms.