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Who Works at Work Any More? Play Instead (Part 1)

Apr 09, 13 Who Works at Work Any More? Play Instead (Part 1)

I lied. You’ve got to get some work done, but why not be able to get those creative juices flowing in between tasks? Work and play are no longer two separate entities according to some recent business stats.

One of these things is not like the others; which one is different? Do you know: TPS reports stacked to your eyebrows, cold calling clients for hours on end, returning from lunch to 47 unread emails, and a Nintendo Wii tournament with co-workers?

It’s clear that the first three are part of the menial tasks (exaggerated as they may be) that some of us have to fulfill day in and day out in order to put food on the table and clothes on our backs, but why does work have to be such a bummer?

It doesn’t.

The truth of the matter is that many of today’s biggest names are incorporating play into the nine to five in an attempt to increase productivity. It sounds crazy, but consider this: Google has it’s employees zipping around the office on scooters, eating free food and bowling; Twitter has a rock wall and yoga classes; Zynga’s halls are filled with arcade games; and YouTube has a two story slide that trumps the stairs every time, but it’s not just big tech hopping on board with play at work.

As listed by Mashable, there are several US companies that provide tons of intangible benefits. Things like dog friendly workplaces, skate parks, free iPods and bicycles, massage and chiropractic professionals on site, and organic home cooked meals twice a day top the list.

Why though?

Play can help stimulate our minds. CNN Living helps explain, “The emphasis on fun spawns creative energy,” explains Lauren Austin. She’s creative director at marketing agency MKG in New York, where play is a priority. “Inspiration comes from interacting with one another and the world around us.”

Austin continues, “Our office is our playground. It was designed to ignite imaginations and encourage employees to interact, because that is how the best ideas are born.”

Companies are making this possible with all kinds of neat perks from craft days to team bike rides on the clock. It’s all in an attempt to foster a fun, team oriented workplace that inspires creativity.

In a book I read titled, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink, he explains that abundance, Asia, and automation are three enormous factors that are changing the way the world does business.

I read it last summer, and I can’t find it right now, but I’ll summarize: abundance – we live in a country where we have 40 different toilet papers to choose from. Asia – there are skilled, educated workers in Asia that are willing and capable to complete the tasks of American workers for 25 percent the pay rate and are more than satisfied to do so. With the connectivity provided by technology, it’s not an issue that they’re not “in the office” to do the work. Finally, automation – robots are being made to complete many of the jobs our fathers and grandfathers did before us. Why? Because robots don’t call in sick, they don’t have fights with their girlfriends and come to work with substandard performance, and they don’t make excuses. A little preventative maintenance and one skilled operator can yield 20 times what our forefathers could.

(Read Part 2 to find out how to change the atmosphere of your workplace.)

Image Credit: iQoncept / Shutterstock

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