The team that plays together…
For all the orchestrated group activities, deliberate “break the ice” conversations, and structured team celebrations – sometimes, we just need to go out and play.
Benefits of play
Consider these reported benefits of play: build relationships with others, practice conflict resolution, improve communication skills. Sound like an ideal plan for team building? These benefits (along with better scissor skills) were actually shared by Fisher Price’s former Director of Child Research as benefits of group play for children. Also reported were increased imagination, concentration, self-confidence, and sociability skills, along with stress reduction.
Creating the opportunity to develop communication and interpersonal skills is too important to be limited to child’s play. Aside from those clichéd foosball tables, how should play factor into the mix at work?
There are many well-documented reasons to allow (or even encourage) play in the workplace. If you’re thinking a toy manufacturer might have a conflict of interest in promoting play, CNN also reports a myriad of benefits, including improved relationships, increased creativity, stress reduction, even better cardiovascular health.
Keeping in the spirit of play, sometimes just playing for the sheer fun of it is all we really need. Those side benefits can be secondary, and come along for the day, rather than be the motivator behind the planned fun. Having fun together for an hour, a morning, or longer is quite likely to carry over once the “official” fun has ended: the shared laughter helps to reduce stress, which in turn, can increase productivity.
August 1: hereby proclaimed our “Day of Fun”
The Smart, Savvy + Associates team recently shook off the weight of some back-to-back, action-packed months with a day spent together, out of the office, and mostly outdoors in Fort Langley. Our day of fun had some goals: fun, fun, and more fun, plus some celebration and recognition thrown in for good measure. Different from a team-building exercise – the opportunity to just be with each other and enjoy some time together was the actual goal.
And we succeeded.
Our team brunched, paddled, munched, celebrated, dined, and shared all kinds of laughs that will undoubtedly pop up in conversation over the next months. Through the laughter, applause, stories, and songs, we reconnected as people first and most importantly. Because we really do believe that People are the Plan™. And sometimes, just letting your team members be the people they are – is the best non-plan of all.
Interested in some fun combined with development for your own team? Smart Savvy Academy offers a range of programs including our Team Advance - a two-day, off-site program to set your team up for success and impressive results for the year ahead; and our Leader's Journey, a 12- to 24-month leadership development journey for high-performing teams.
Peter Reek is the Founder and President of Smart, Savvy + Associates, who are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached.