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Playful Curiosity

Last week I joined Andrew Jenkins on his Leaders Live show, where we had a fantastic conversation about The Power of a Playful Workplace and How It Can Build Success. In the lead-up to the show, we ran a LinkedIn poll to find out whether people can have fun at work and still be professional. The results were interesting, with 96% of respondents saying ‘yes, definitely’, and the interaction and input into our conversation were equally inspiring.

Now, fun is subjective. It means different things to different people. And this makes it challenging to be inclusive when developing ideas to introduce a more playful business environment. No one likes forced fun!

But, when you get it right, the power you can unleash in your people and organisation is incredible. A creative and collaborative environment develops with just the right level of challenge to keep everyone focused. Coupling this with increased engagement in the team improves morale and wellbeing. And, finally, it makes you stand out when attracting talent.

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Image: Duy Pham

So, let’s dive into this a little further.

How does a playful workplace benefit our working lives?

1.     Social Interaction

By creating an environment of fun, people become more relaxed, and the opportunity to get to know each other grows. In turn, trust in our colleagues builds quickly, which increases confidence to challenge the status quo.

2.     Innovation

As trust and confidence build, we are more likely to share ideas, make recommendations, and experiment with new ways of working. Our understanding of why what we do matters, how it impacts clients, customers, and guests, and where we can innovate grows. All leading to better service, enhanced products, and improved business results.

3.     Improves Wellness

It’s crucial to understand the impact working environments can have on our team’s wellness. My newsletter last week focused on Cognitive Fatigue and how our brains become overloaded with pressure from work, the stress of home life, and the fascination of doom-scrolling on social media (I’ve included a link below). Developing a social, fun, and playful environment allows people to relax their minds.

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Image: Priscilla Du Preez

But, what does a playful workplace even mean?

The good news here is that there is a simple solution. Ask your teams.

Some may want pool tables, PlayStations, and air hockey. Others need a more relaxing vibe with reading rooms, yoga, and a coffee shop. And then there are the social events, the stuff that happens outside the four walls of the office, where everyone is effectively on the same level. Whatever you choose, remember it’s all about enjoying yourself and getting to know people on a personal level.

Technology can play a part here too. Internal communication platforms offer many options to allow individuals with common interests to interact wherever they are. And it becomes easy to organise online events, such as quizzes or wellbeing challenges.

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Image: Priscilla Du Preez

How can we use a playful workplace to hire new talent?

Through being authentic with the fun introduced to the workplace a company personality begins to form. In corporate land, it is called the Employee Value Proposition, or EVP for short.

A people experience can be built around such a personality, from engaging with prospective employees on social media, through the online recruitment process, to the onboarding process of new starters. The consistency of these touchpoints is key to attracting new talent, who, in turn, bring fresh thinking and challenge.

So, how are you going to start bringing more fun to your workplace?

I’d love you to share your ideas

Have a brilliant week!

Dave Rogers, Chief Business Explorer, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

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