Have you ever thought about incorporating play into your workday? Are you having enough fun at work? For some, it might feel like you’re working a job that might not feel playful and fun, but the truth is, there are many ways we can add play into our daily work routines.
Tried and true methods for adding more play into work
A quick (or perhaps more bold way) to add more play into your work is to find a more playful job.
“Step 1: Quit your job if it doesn’t allow for play.”
But we get it; quitting your job may not be an option or even your desire. The good news is—if you feel like you’re in an environment that doesn’t cater to play, there are plenty of small ways you can get started, regardless of your current environment.
Play via creative projects
One way to add more play to your workday is through creative projects. Nina works on a newsletter that allows her to write, compile pictures, and include quotes from her team. This creative outlet has proven to be a playful way to enjoy the workday for Nina.
Play via setting up team games
Another quick way to include play in your work is to run team games, such as jeopardy or trivia. Nina runs jeopardy with her sales team and enjoys seeing competitiveness amongst team members. The game is a great way to challenge employees, and it allows Nina to challenge herself as she builds the structure for and brainstorms what questions to use.
Team games don’t necessarily have to happen at work to be fun, either. Things like planned trivia nights with your team members make for great team get-togethers and provide an opportunity for employees to connect on a fun level outside of the work environment.
Play via organization and aesthetics
If you have more control over your work systems and structures, play through organization is one unique aspect you might not have previously considered. Coley is a big fan of ClickUp. If you’re unfamiliar with ClickUp, it’s a digital organization app with many customization capabilities. In particular, Coley plays with ClickUp by swapping out brand colors and designing a view that feels inspiring and feminine to her.
Other ways you can play with organization and aesthetics include changing your desktop backgrounds, changing your physical workspace environment, and spicing up your desk. Whatever aesthetic you enjoy, consider adding custom elements to your digital and physical workspace.
Play via emojis and memes
Speaking of aesthetics, consider adding more emojis (where appropriate, of course) to your work. Nina uses emojis with her team to add a playful tone to her messages and because they break up text and make it more visually appealing.
Remember that emojis might not be a fit for everyone, so be mindful of your receiving audience and the emojis you’re using.
Or take it to next level with fun memes!
Play via conversation
Conversations with your coworkers, clients, and customers can be playful too! Whether you’re cracking jokes with customers or engaging in dialogue that makes your audience laugh and feels more relaxed, playfulness in conversation is a must.
Use icebreakers, emulate youthful energy, or keep conversation light with a friendly smile to make your interactions more enjoyable and playful. Conversation topics that take away play often include work gossip and other negative discussion topics, so try to redirect the conversation when possible if these topics start to arise.
Play via breaks
If incorporating play directly into your work or workspace isn’t an option for you, don’t worry! We have some ideas for integrating work into your breaks for a quick dose of play. You could keep a small box of trinkets or toys at your desk or store a mini coloring book and a box of crayons in your drawers. These are great ways to dive into a brief playtime that you can quickly pack up and put away when your break is over.
Listening to energizing songs and playlists can also give you a quick boost on your breaks in between your work. There are so many ways to experiment with play throughout your day, even if it’s only for brief moments at a time.
Play via toys and competition
We’ve all heard of trendy startups with ping-pong tables in the breakroom, haven’t we? Things like foosball, ping-pong and other multi-player games bring together in corporate office spaces and are the perfect way to add more play to the space.
And even if your office doesn’t have any of these types of games ready and available, you could rally a group of coworkers and head outside for some playtime. Keep a frisbee or football on hand, or play tag, even if it seems ludicrous at first. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed or think these ideas are outrageous.
“The alternative is a boring job where you just clock in, clock out, and there’s no joy. Why not have joy at work as well?”
Can you play in the virtual workplace?
Incorporating play in-person might sound more straightforward than it is in the virtual workspace, but rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities for you to liven up your virtual workday too. We get it—virtual workers are inundated with Zoom meetings these days, but things like playing jeopardy, doing virtual scavenger hunts, and playing other virtual games are a great way to pull in your team.
You can also do fun virtual presentations where you share quirky details about what you love outside of work, baby pictures, or other unique ways for team members to get to know one another. These activities allow you to get to know your people on a deeper level so that your job is much more than a clock in and clock out scenario.
Work play tips in action
We asked our community for examples of how they’ve incorporated play into their work, and here’s what they had to say:
Alan plays solitaire on his work computer in his spare time and not to waste time, but rather for fun and to energize him
Jr rallies his coworkers together to play board games
Alyssa started a weekly outing with her coworkers to walk to a nearby lemonade shop for midday fun
Shifting our mindset toward more play in the office
Work is an integral part of our lives; there’s no doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. An all-work mentality isn’t sustainable in the long term, and we need to move toward an integration of work and play.
How will you start incorporating more play into your work?