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Boring is out. Fun is in. Fun at work is no longer a taboo as it has proven to be a key aspect that helps build teams effectively, keeps employees happy and satisfied, and bring long-term benefits to the company. In this course, we discuss the benefits of having play and games in your workplace and strategies on how you can leverage them to develop teamwork for your office-based and remote teams and foster diversity and inclusion.
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Adults Need Fun
"Down to the wire" "The ball's in their court" "Dropped the ball" "Knocked it out of the park" "Slam dunk" "Hail Mary"
These are some sports or game lingo that have long permeated the world of business as metaphors — some of you may have heard from colleagues, or have even used a couple of times in your everyday business language.
Indeed, play has long infused the world of business. 1
Publications often call businesses as "industry players", actions as "moves", strategies as "playbooks". In addition, elements of games, or gamification, have also been employed for training or tracking performance of employees. Elements such as points, leaderboards, and completion bars have been around to help motivate workers.
Whether used as metaphors or applied in real-life business decisions, it is evident that play is here to stay. However, many may not have yet fully realized its benefits in developing people, why it's crucial for training adults, and how to create a work culture that truly embraces fun.
In this lesson, we tackle why adults need fun, the benefits of play in the workplace setting, and why it has become an asset in today's organizations.
What is the role of play in adults' lives? 8
Relieves stress Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Improve brain function Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.
Play teaches cooperation with others Play is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization. Through play, children learn how to “play nicely” with others—to work together, follow mutually agreed upon rules, and socialize in groups. As adults, you can continue to use play to break down barriers and improve your relationships with others.
In the next lessons, we'll discuss strategies on how you can mix work and play in your workplace and leverage the power of gamification in: Building teams in your organization Fostering socialization and inclusion Improving engagement in your remote work teams
Through play, you can build strong and united teams by helping them develop: strategy formulation and execution skills; communication skills; and a strong sense of collaboration.
Here some examples of games that help improve strategy formulation and execution:
Diversity and Inclusion Through Play
Here are some proven team-building activities to help promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace:
Strategies for Remote Working
Here are some of the best fun ideas to help your remote workin employees and teams bond:
Last Notes about Remote Working: Be mindful of the paradox of work-life balance in a pandemic How employees react to (and either thrive or struggle or both) remote work arrangements is highly variable and highly individual—which makes emotionally intelligent leadership essential. Take the time to understand what works best for each individual. Ensure that communication is frequent, transparent, and consistent A recent MIT survey of best practices for remote teams found that communication was by far the most critical key to success. Because employees may quickly find themselves feeling disconnected from leadership or co-workers, communication frequency and consistency are crucial. Provide support for employees’ wellbeing Be mindful of specific COVID-related challenges individual employees may be having. Parents and those caring for medically vulnerable loved ones might require more emotional and logistical support. Additional resources include online mental health discussions and anonymous telehealth counseling.