Why to creatively integrate play in the workplace

Here on the West Coast, we have no shortage of startup companies teeming with talent, rigor and… ping pong tables. Yes, you heard me correctly – ping pong tables. Startup rec activities like ping pong and foosball have become so cliché that it’s mocked on shows like Silicon Valley and Parks and Recreation. But maybe there’s something to this notion of play in the workplace beyond startup culture fodder.

It turns out, encouraging play in the workplace is conducive to productivity and taps into regions of our brain that enable sustained motivation. For a tangible example, consider that 67% of gym memberships go unused after New Year’s resolutions are made—it may seem that most are picking wrong activities. While running on the treadmill for 30 minutes may burn the most calories, if you’re not having fun, you’re not likely to stick with it beyond a few weeks. Similarly, employees risk burnout when faced with a work environment that is no longer enjoyable.

It turns out, encouraging play in the workplace is conducive to productivity and taps into regions of our brain that enable sustained motivation.

Sustaining employee engagement and motivation through play doesn’t have to look like an arcade room however. At Projectline Services, we get creative and incorporate alternative forms of play that fit within our company culture. Just last month, we spent an evening volunteering at Food Lifeline and last week we participated in a caroling contest with our Yesler colleagues to raise funds for the Pike Market Senior Center. Networking parties, in-office live music sessions, Instagram contests, and monthly happy hours are other ways we engage our employees. We’ve found that activities like these keep our employees not only happy but motivated to work as a team towards common company goals.

Two women sorting fruit in a wharehouse volunteering fun

Your turn! What do you consider fun at work? How do you balance play and productivity? What unique ways to you keep your work environment enjoyable and yourself motivated?  We would love some fresh ideas. Tell us below or chat with us on Twitter. To learn more about Projectline Services and get an insider’s peek into the ways we have fun, follow us on  Instagram.

Bonus read: if you are a leader looking for tips on how to incorporate more play into your organization, check out “Hey Boss, Start Clowning Around: 9 Tips on Getting Out of a Seriousness Rut” by Anika Lehde.