Sterile, dull and play free working environments are likely to lead to an increased turnover of staff, because staff like to socialise at work.
This article examines some practical ways in which play can be incorporated in the workplace for the benefit of both the employer and the employee.
Designate Play Zones One of the biggest problems with staff engaging in non work activities is that they can disturb other employees around them who are tying to work.
Organisations need to designate zones where staff can switch off from work for thirty minutes without it impacting upon other employees.
Consider creating a games room that can be equipped with pool tables, entertainment systems, sofa's and an ample supply of refreshments.
By doing this staff will quickly associate their desk with work and are likely to be more respectful of those around them.
Designate Play Periods A good employer will quickly realise the positive effect play has on staff morale and will seek to designate specific periods in the working day for this activity.
Overworked staff are likely to try and take time out to have fun anyway but formalising it in this way reduces the potential for staff to waste further work time.
The time that employees are least productive is immediately after lunch and scheduling thirty minutes non work time is a clever way of allowing staff to let off steam without effecting productivity.
The other alternative is to encourage staff to take an additional thirty minutes time out when they decide they need it.
Consider organising formal activities during staff breaks which employees can participate in.
Pool competitions, running clubs, football games, aerobic workouts, yoga or pilates sessions or gym sessions can all help staff to let off steam.
Exercise increases the heart rate which in turn boosts concentration levels and these organised activities can have a real positive effect on productivity and encourage team building among staff.
Better still why not ask staff to volunteer to run these activities so that they take ownership of them.
Charity Events These can be an excellent way of incorporating play into the workplace whilst boosting the organisation's image.
Set a specific day each month, such as the last Friday in the month, and allow staff to dress down and wear casual clothes on that day if they pay $2 to a chosen charity.
Invite local press to the event and get community groups involved.
This way staff can enjoy themselves, raise money for charity and the organisation can reap the benefits of a positive corporate image, everybody wins.
Remember that staff only get involved in organised activities if they have appropriate changing or shower facilities.
No one wants to engage in a physical activity in their work clothes and then sit sweating in the office for the rest of the afternoon.