Do You Value Play?

Part of my podcast consumption includes something most of you are very familiar with, TED talks. I normally save them up and have a TED marathon every couple of weeks. Recently this one peaked my interest. It is by Steve Keil titled “A Play Manifesto”. Although many of his references are about his home country of Bulgaria I think his message is relevant for anyone who is trying to bring about change.

Much of the message is asking us to “Value Play”. In the context of his talk “play” doesn’t mean frivolous, it’s more about enjoying what you do and using play to become a positive influence on others. Unfortunately many of us, including me, devalue play and get caught up in the tasks of our daily routines, seriousness ensues and becomes the norm.

Now I’m not suggesting we add in a playground behind all of our offices, although I’m sure we’d have lots of laughs if we saw our co-workers hanging on a set of monkey bars. But if we are going to spend at least 40 hrs a week somewhere shouldn’t we try hard to spend a good portion of that time with a smile on our face.

One of my favorite lines “You’re obviously an idiot so I’m going to make a zillion little processes for you to follow so you don’t step outside the box.” If this reminds you of your workplace you may want to think of ways to rediscover play. Work shouldn’t make you feel miserable, find ways to do what makes you feel good and in the end share your ideas.

Plans for my next post is to explain one of the things I’m trying to do to bring “play” into my workplace.

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Allison Primack

I really enjoyed your post, and this video. We don’t have monkey bars in our office, but we have a ping pong table and a little basketball hoop… I have to admit, I think it is one of the best parts of our office. If we are in need a short mental break we challenge each other to a quick game. It allows us to de-stress, and is a fun way to bond with our coworkers.

Rod Gallant

Thanks Allison. Seems like a pretty basic premise (a happy worker is a productive worker) but too many organizations get it wrong. Glad to see you get to “play” at work.

Jana Opperman

My group takes 10-15 minutes in the afternoon to play trivia. I am known to call it “recess” (I used to be a teacher although a high school teacher…) We have fun trying to answer 10 questions some realllllly trivial so all close guesses are good enough. Sometimes we challenge the answers and find out we WERE right after a google check~ but it’s a little fun time to play especially timed around 2PM so it fixes that after lunch sleepiness for sure~maybe that’s why my superviser calls for trivia then! It really does smash the mid afternoon drag. Might as well time your “Play” to that hour it helps production.

Kevin Lanahan

While part of my agency’s mission statement is to “facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about [fish, forest and wildlife of Missouri]”, I tend to think of it more as telling people to “go outside and play.” The people in my office that hunt, hike, canoe and fish are happier and healthier, and have more fun, that folks that don’t play.

I just have to remember to take my own advice.

Rod Gallant

Agree Kevin….sometimes it’s difficult to remember to take our own advise. Sometimes tough to get the right work/life balance, but worth it in the end.