The Power of Play Jill Vialet

   |    17/07/2019

At TEDMED 2014, CEO of Playworks Jill Vialet challenges us to release our inner child and remember that play matters.

When you were younger, parents, teachers and other adults may have told you that work and play occupied totally different spheres.

Kids play all the time, but their grown-up counterparts are more interested in putting food on the table, and that means hard work, not fun and games.

As it turns out, the line between work and play may not be as bright as those adults would have you believe.

From the programming powerhouses of Silicon Valley to the creative caverns of the Pacific Northwest, some of the most successful companies have incorporated play into their workplaces.

From retail giants like Amazon to technology leaders like Facebook and software leader SAS, businesses are finding that providing outsized employee perks, including playtime and recreational opportunities, is good for the bottom line.

The move toward workplace play may seem counterintuitive, and there was pushback in the beginning.

Managers wondered if their workers would spend all their time playing basketball instead of writing code, and they fretted that productivity would suffer mightily.

In the end, however, the opposite seems to have happened. Instead of hampering productivity, providing recreational opportunities and other perks appears to be a real boon to the bottom line.

To those who have been paying attention, the link between playtime and productivity should be all too obvious.

Studies have long shown that happier employees are also more productive, and an entire employee wellness industry has been built on that principle.

In some ways, the expansion of recreation at the office and recognising the power of play is simply the next step on this well-traveled road.

For decades, businesses have spent time and money on formal team-building exercises, sending their executives on wilderness retreats and challenging workers to expand their horizons and reach for seemingly unattainable goals.

Team building exercises and play-based learning are big business, but they are also good for business. Some of the most successful and profitable companies in history have benefitted from this connection, going above and beyond to keep their employees happy, engaged and on the job.

Workers have responded positively to these perks, putting in more time at the office, thinking more creatively and building better businesses for their bosses.

Does your organisation value play as a critical component to success?


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