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Work Hard, Play Harder. Incorporating Play into the Workplace

Finding the perfect work-life balance is one of the greatest struggles we face professionally. There are a number of factors that affect the success of your ideal balance: motivation, dedication, client demands, workplace culture and staff morale. We are big believers in the importance of creating a positive workplace culture. Nurturing this positivity has flow on effects, your staff become more motivated, dedicated and their stress is reduced. To further nurture this positivity by feeding it with fun and play, allows you to take it to the next level.

Creativity and productivity require fuel. Demand, pressure and time constraints are often used to drive employees to do better and work harder. But forcing the issue can hinder the evolution of truly innovative ideas. Play enables people to use a different part of their brain. As we mentioned last week, we see no reason for play not to be a part of our adult lives, given its significance in early development and later in life. Humans respond well to challenge and reward. Fun in the workplace is often frowned upon or trivialised, but if we find a way to use it as a show of appreciation to our employees, staff morale can improve exponentially.

Aaron Dignan is an author, CEO and certified geek, who has undoubtedly owned it and brought into the workplace some fascinating ideas about gaming and play. We know gaming is important because a huge part of game mechanics is growth. Growth is a hugely significant part of self-fulfilment, given our ego develops due to the acquirement of new skills. In careers, we seek fulfilment by being challenged and developing new skill sets. From this, our sense of reward grows dramatically. By looking at principles in gaming, where challenge and reward form a sturdy basis, we can begin to apply these strategies to our day to day work life. Aaron sees this fulfilment as the key to creating a successful business and a happy workplace.

In the below video, Aaron looks at the fact that games are always satisfying, rewarding and consuming. Aaron sees ways for this philosophy to be applied to work, thus improving our sense of reward, challenge and motivation on a daily basis.

Last week we showed you the workplace of Stance Socks. Passionate about finding the ever elusive perfect work-life balance, they have created a workplace where the spacial footprint is weighted at 2/3 play to 1/3 work. They talk about the difficulty in shifting employee thinking from the elsewhere expected 8-10 hour stagnant slog, to being able to get out of your chair at any point during the day to work out, hit the bike trail or the half pipe.

Their underlying philosophy is to give their staff a chance to find mental clarity. This is undeniably valuable in any professional field. The reduction of your employees stress levels leads to less sick leave, improved productivity and a significantly more positive culture.

Gaming has also found a home in marketing, where businesses often use reward systems to keep customers coming back. Looking again at game mechanics, the accumulation of points and bonuses forms the structure of most games. Now look at frequent flyer points; the sense of reward people feel when they see their points accumulating undoubtedly ensures they continue to fly with the airline given the possibility of stepping up their membership. It creates focus, loyalty and dedication.

Using principles of gaming and play to create a successful and positive workplace culture works. Your team feels rewarded, valued and most importantly, productive. You’re creating an opportunity for innovation to take true shape. We think that’s a pretty worthwhile way to take your business to the next level.

Want more? Read this great interview of Aaron Dignan here.