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Be more playful and reap the rewards

Be more playful and reap the rewards

‘People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.’
– Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

The concept of play is widely acknowledged to be a critical part of childhood; the cornerstone of developing social and emotional skills, and a means through which children are able to learn and explore the world. But the concept of fun shouldn’t only be applied to children. It’s an important part of adulthood and has far-reaching positive effects beyond simply an enjoyable moment in time.

Catherine Price, author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again, defines fun as a moment when playfulness, connection, and flow convene. Incorporating fun and play into the workplace – through imaginative, relaxed, or self-directed activities – has numerous benefits for employee productivity and creativity, mental health, and general well-being. For employees with less stimulating and routine work, injecting elements of fun into their day can help relieve boredom and can significantly improve their productivity.

Playfulness at work combats stress
Playfulness in the workplace reduces stress and helps develop positive adaptive coping strategies. The endorphins released by play promote an overall sense of well-being; in fact, playful adults across several studies report having lower stress levels and an increased ability to remain functional during times of high stress.

Playfulness at work boosts creativity and productivity
We know that children learn best while playing – but this principle applies to adults in the workplace, too. Play plays an important role in stimulating the imagination and learning to think differently. It allows us to experiment and take creative risks; it leads to brain plasticity and adaptability. Creative thinking and problem-solving are valuable life skills which are hugely beneficial in the workplace.

Playfulness at work improves relationships and connection
Shared fun plays an important role in boosting employee relationships. It helps foster empathy, compassion, and trust, which can help employees navigate stressful workdays and seemingly impossible tasks as a team.

Playfulness at work has a positive impact on engagement and retention
Play has been associated with several positive organisational outcomes, including lower turnover rates, improved performance and productivity, higher job satisfaction, and decreased absenteeism. The converse is also true: employees stuck in dull, monotonous jobs report higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Practical tips to integrate playful elements into the work environment
There’s more to a ‘fun’ work environment than a ping-pong table in the lunchroom. Fun in the workplace can encompass a wide range of events and experiences that evoke positive emotions among employees.

Some ideas to encourage play and creativity include:

  • Provide opportunities for social interaction on a regular basis. This could include after-work drinks, games in the lunchroom, or weekly art or yoga classes.
  • Encourage off-site meetings. A change in scenery can inject excitement into the workday, helping employees find different inspiration or creative solutions.
  • Organise an office sports team. The camaraderie and fun will filter back into the workplace.
  • Set up a ‘hall of fame’ and reward employees for not just hard work but good deeds and light-hearted quirks.
  • Celebrate holidays with decor, themed music, and snacks.
  • Include theme days, encouraging employees to dress according to a certain theme. Include prizes for best-dressed as an incentive for involvement.
  • Reward milestones and positive results with festive gatherings and celebrations.

Ready to elevate your holistic well-being journey? Discover more by reaching out via email at, calling us at (+27) 86 123 4123 to connect with our dedicated business development managers, or visiting our website today. Life Healthcare is a leading provider of private psychiatric services in South Africa. For additional support, find our more about the acute psychiatric services available at Life Health Solutions

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