As with children, many adults like to play and have fun. After all, everybody likes to feel good and laugh. The benefits of playtime may seem counterintuitive, but it can lead to a better work environment, greater productivity, and an increase in revenue. Statistics have shown that happy employees will work harder and are more productive. There's a reason search engine giant "Google" allows its employees playtime at the beach.
Here are some important reasons to consider playtime at work.
Increased Cognitive Function
Playtime increases cognitive function. Some popular games include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and chess. The US National Library of Medicine reports a six-month study conducted by King Saud University College of Medicine and King Khalid Hospital University in Saudi Arabia. Over fifty individuals were used to examine their cognitive functioning before and after a series of brain training games. Researchers randomly selected normal and healthy individuals within various age groups.
Researchers used the brain training software Lumosity to test cognitive functions such as attention, visual memory, processing speed, and executive functions. One group was required to engage the app for a minimum of 15 minutes per day for three weeks. The control group was not required to do any brain training exercises. After three weeks, the control did not show any signs of improvement, but the other group showed significant improvement in various cognitive domains such as attention, memory, problem-solving, and motor speed.
Although it may not initially appear to be productive, free play can boost employee productivity. Research has shown that play at work decreases boredom and fatigue. It's connected to job satisfaction, competence, and creativity. The upside to playtime goes well beyond the employee. It creates a sense of trust, increases social interactions, and creates an atmosphere of solidarity. Employees are less likely to give 100% to a company where they feel undervalued and have no emotional connection with management.
Relieves Stress & Decreases Absenteeism
Stress destroys productivity. One of the main reasons most adults don't have any playtime is because of hectic lifestyles. As a result, many people are holding on to lots of stress. Unfortunately, they are not letting it go as they should. This is one of the reasons we see a surge in mental health disorders. For many, daily life can be overwhelming. Playtime relieves tension and allows employees to physically and emotionally connect with other individuals that they see every day.
The feel-good chemical (endorphin) helps with depression and anxiety. By allowing employees to let go of some daily stressors, it reduces absenteeism and sick leave. Scientists have proven that there is a strong correlation between stress and physical illnesses. The US National Library of Medicine also published literature showing how chronic stress significantly impacts the immune system and manifest illnesses.
Increases Workplace Satisfaction
In the past, when an employee became dissatisfied with a job, the employee would quit. The employee would typically find another job within a couple of months. However, times have changed. People are holding on to jobs for financial reasons. Nowadays, people mentally quit their jobs but physically stay. This is the harsh reality of most workplaces today. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. Small but positive changes in the work environment can have a huge impact on employees and their work ethics.
It's very easy to find information online about how stressful management practices can adversely affect an employee's health. Playtime is not only beneficial to the employee, but it's also beneficial to the business. In 2019, many companies were forced to downsize or close their doors. The question is why. If you look very closely, you will probably discover that the front-line employees were undervalued, unappreciated, and had no input as to how the company can improve. If you take care of your employees, there's a good chance your employees will take care of you.