How Leadership and Play Unlock People’s Potential

Work can often be stressful. Deadlines, targets, long hours, not enough sleep and the general pressures of modern life impacts most people, including your employees. As a leader who cares about the welfare of their workers, there’s a simple change that can be implemented in your business’s culture that will bring a much needed work-life balance and spirit of fun into the workplace: games. Here are six ways play benefits employees:

Creating a culture with clear values

Increasing your employees’ happiness will increase their productivity, but it’s also a great thing to do as a leader to demonstrate your values. Fostering health and wellness in your employees shows you don’t just care about your business outcomes, but for them as individuals.

Short- and long-term physical health benefits

Games, either sport-based, board games or team games, increase physical activity and stimulates the parts of the brain that relate to strategic thinking, concentration and memory. There is some research indicating that working these sections of the mind may slow ageing and offset Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Think of games as a mental exercise– if you don’t use these parts of the brain, you may lose them.

Stress release and mental health benefits

Play breaks also serve to alleviate stress by giving employees mental rest from the tasks at hand. Even short pauses that require them to do something else will allow them to return to the task refreshed and reinvigorated. This process will, overall, reduce stress and boost morale, making them happier, healthier and maintain motivation.

Improving retention

A happy employee is a loyal employee. If they are satisfied with not just their work but their entire working environment, they will stay at your company longer. Providing games shows them that you value them as individuals and their health. With good health also comes fewer absences and lower health care costs, which is an added benefit to everyone.

Create bonded teams

Healthy employees also are more efficient at teamwork, and games are a great way to foster this. Relaxed, non-work time allows employees to let their guards down and get to know each other better. Team games will also develop skills like collaboration and communication and strengthen group dynamics and innovation within the workplace.

Increase productivity

Another way to create a more playful environment is to bring games not just into the workplace, but into the work itself. Gamify tasks by adding a competitive element with levels and rewards, and employees will retain more knowledge and information. National Training Laboratories’ studies indicate that people playing games retain a higher percentage of new information than when they aren’t, and they are also more likely to hold onto that information in the long term.

An easy way to introduce games is to leave board games in the breakout areas and schedule weekly game time. If you have more space, a ping pong table, arcade games or a game console can help foster a culture where play is encouraged. It’s important to back this up with formal time specifically for game-based education or professional development. You’ll soon see tangible changes in your workplace with healthier and happier workers.

Book a LEGO® Serious Play® session to get the benefits of play in your workplace