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Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of a jam session? Musicians know that creativity, ingenuity, and “out-of-the-box” thinking rarely happen during regimented work time. Instead, they happen when we allow ourselves to let our proverbial hair (or actual hair if you’re a rock star) down, have fun… play. The same is true for your business. Sure, there are times when employees need to be serious, put their heads down, and focus entirely on the task at hand. However, you’ll never reach the level of success you’re hoping for without sufficient playtime. Why is Play Important for Employees? There are so many ways play can positively impact your team. Such as: ? Play relieves stress and anxiety by improving coping skills and keeping us focused in the moment ? Play builds better relationships that can foster teamwork ? Play enhances work performance and job satisfaction ? Play boosts creativity and encourages innovation           Play may be the panacea for everything that ails you! How to Incorporate Play into your Business 1. Provide time and space to unwind When employees are actively “working” 100% of the time, it’s difficult for their brains to switch to creative mode. If your employees are customer-facing, give them time away from their desks or stations. If they do office work primarily, make sure they have time to step away from the computer and daydream. Have a relaxing space (that isn’t a flickering fluorescent-drenched lunchroom) where they can kick back, talk to other employees, and get their creative juices flowing. 2. Gamify projects Humans are hardwired to appreciate regular, positive reinforcement. Create a “game” culture where employees can compete against not just coworkers but themselves, earn rewards for achieving the next “level,” and work together to not only be productive but have fun. You can create games for everything from reaching sales goals to remembering to recycle. 3. Create an environment that encourages collaboration If your office is still wall-to-wall cubicles, it’s time to redecorate! While employees can have fun on their own, a true culture of play requires that employees interact with one another, develop relationships, and brainstorm. Unless privacy is essential for the type of work you do, (though I’d question how much privacy three fake walls actually provide), it’s time to open up your office to open up minds. 4. Be silly No one can (or should) be serious all the time. Brent Smith of Shinedown says, “I live by the adage: don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. There are 24 hours in a day, so find the moment to lighten up.” Tapping into your inner child helps keep employees engaged and happy. Consider Zappos, who would have weekly parades through the office where employees could dress up, make hats and accessories, and play fake (or real) instruments. Customers, vendors, and employees didn’t judge the company for these “frivolous” activities. On the contrary, people flocked to take tours of the business and learn about their culture. Play isn’t just for kids and musicians. If you want to turn your employees into rockstars, include an element of play in their work day. For more tips on leadership and teamwork, visit https://www.marvellessmark.com/

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