Can Work and Play Co-Exist


“If it isn’t fun, why do it?” says Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Its ironic that what many of us dread, another day of work, is supposed to be an environment for productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Work and play are considered opposite ends of the spectrum.  But can the two co-exist?  Can we have some fun and dare I say even enjoy going into work? And if we can, what does that mean for results and outcomes?

David Ogilvy, head of an advertising agency says, “Make it fun to work at your agency.  When people aren’t having fun they seldom produce good advertising.”

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father,” said Roger von Oech.

Yet when the idea of play is brought up, it’s like violating the sacred sanctuary of the office.  It will only distract and detract.  What other offices incorporate play into their work culture?  Aren’t casual Friday’s sufficient?

A company seeks for its employees to generate new ideas. This is accomplished by the unexpected joining of two old elements creating something new.  Bringing fun to the workplace could not only produce innovation, but the joining of these two elements is innovation.

There is no harm in planting some seeds to make your workplace more enjoyable.  In fact, there is significant benefit.  Creativity, camaraderie, increase in results, and a breeding ground for ingenuity, just to name a few.  Not to mention your own personal well-being gets a boost.

Be creative. Find ways to make work fun. Because if it isn’t fun, why do it?

Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning.

Darts. Put a dart board up in the conference room for people to play when they need a break.

Get outdoors. On a nice day get outside.  Suggest holding one of your meetings outdoors.  Who knows what ideas could arise from mother nature.

Decorate. Decorate your office with stuff you enjoy. Bring in kids pictures or artwork to hang in the office lobby or break room.

Talent Show. No one can resist showing off what they are good at.

Dress Up Day. Every now and then you can’t deny, you enjoy dressing up.

Personal Project. Structure into the work curriculum a project to work on with no guidelines – completely up to whatever each person is interested in. (Google has gotten most of its ideas this way)

Group TV Shows. Once a week, or even once a month, watch a favorite TV show. The Office perhaps…

Baby Pictures. Put up a board of baby pictures and guess who is who.

Dance. Turn up the tunes and show off some moves.  While your doing it check out the lyrics for the songs you always lip sing to (ie. Macaroni)

Making the work place more enjoyable will ultimately turn it into an environment generating some legendary ideas.