How ‘play’ boosts productivity and creativity in the workplace

by HCA10 Apr 2017

As children, we naturally play and have fun to pass time. But there is something significant to be gained in continuing this activity in the workplace, according to Catriona Pollard, CEO of CP Communications.

“Play in the workplace allows fun, exploration and hands-on learning,” Pollard told HC.

“It’s not necessarily about putting a ping pong table in the corner and saying to staff ‘go play whenever you feel like playing’.

“The type of play I’m talking about involves finding new ways of building innovation, engagement and problem-solving within office spaces.”

For Pollard, her play takes the form of sculptural basketry where she takes materials from nature like twigs, leaves and sticks, and weaves them into beautiful artworks.

To boost the creativity of her staff, Pollard has taught them how to replicate some of her simple artworks.

“I feel this solves some problems which go on in the workforce around how fast-paced we are expected to be,” said Pollard.

“It is a traditional craft and really forces people to slow down and reconnect with really simplistic tasks which they have to do one at a time."

Taking this time out is a good way to socialise and build team work, as well as use the more creative side of the brain.

“Quite often in our workplaces the learning is very visual and very auditory,” said Pollard.

“We might go to conferences or go and hear somebody speak. But this type of play allows kinaesthetic learning which we don’t really do much as adults anymore. That’s learning and experiencing by using our hands.”

Pollard added that the other things play allows are risk-taking and competition.

“As kids we don’t win every time. We have to take different risks and try different things to be able to learn to win,” she said.

“It also brings out competition and personalities in people. Employees start competing with each other to make the most beautiful sculpture or the most beautiful piece of artwork.

“It really forces people to expand their worldview and to see different points of view. It also helps them overcome challenges and understand different perspectives.”

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