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Productivity Hacks: Transforming your Team from Busy Beta to Productive Alpha with Playfulness

January 4, 2024 eye-glyph 78

Table of Contents

    Raise your hand, if you’ve ever had a eureka – a sparkle of motivation that arouses a new idea, settles a problem, or lifts your business to new heights.

    Now, keep your hand up if that eureka transpired while you were stooping over your laptop, swamped by emails.

    Most probably, your hand is firmly down. Because let’s face it, the sterile, pressure-cooker environment of most workplaces isn’t exactly the fertile ground for creativity.

    Statistics from Zippia paints a surprising picture. An average employee is productive for just 2 hours and 53 minutes out of 8 working hours! Yes, you read that correctly. Only about 31% of the day is spent working productively.

    How can we change this? The answer is simple: Playfulness.

    That’s the recipe that unlatches our brains’ full potential, dismantles the barriers to inventiveness, and cultivates a culture where game-changing thoughts can prosper.

    In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the transformational influence of playfulness at work. We’ll explore practical strategies, and share inspiring examples of companies already garnering the rewards of a playful approach.

    Let’s get playful!

    The role of playfulness at work

    role of playfulness at work

    When you hear playfulness at work, what comes to your mind? Silly games? Turning the office into a playground.

    Indeed, playfulness is all about adding fun and laughter to our workday. But, it’s much wider than that.

    It’s about breaking free from the stiff ordinary and cuddling fresh perspectives. It’s about the audacity to ask unorthodox questions and explore seemingly incredible ideas, the ones that might just hold the key to innovative solutions.

    Let me put it another way. It’s about lighting that sparkle of interest and creative bravery that exists within all of us, the one that’s not scared to experiment, reiterate, and learn from stumbles along the way.

    Remember the things you enjoy doing most in life? The things that make you forget about time and pack you with happiness? Chances are, those activities have a dose of playfulness in them, whether it’s getting lost in a good book, jamming out to your favorite tunes, or just hanging out with friends and family without a care in the world.

    So why can’t work be like that? Even studies recommend bringing a little fun to the workspace can transform your team and business.

    • Playful workplaces have a 10% higher retention rate. (Brainz Magazine)
    • Creativity and innovation increase by 20% when playful leaders lead teams. (Brainz Magazine)
    • A team headed by a playful leader has 21% higher profitability. (Gallup)
    • Employee wellness programs have a six-fold return on investment. If a company invests $1 into its employees, it gets $6 back in return.
    • 62% of employees who have fun at work take fewer sick days. (BrightHR)

    2. Playful strategies to unleash your alpha workforce

    The future of work belongs to the playful alphas, the teams who liven up their days with a spirit of exploration, laughter, and endless creativity.

    But how do we transform from busy betas to playful alphas? It’s not about mandatory office yoga or forced fun days. It’s about shifting the very culture of your workplace, making playfulness an integral part of who you are as a team.

    Here are some of the playful strategies to get started to unleash your alpha workforce;

    1. Embrace a playful mindset

    Recall your childhood. Remember the joy of exploring new ideas, liberating yourself to experiment without fear and the pure fun of learning while playing. Embracing a playful mindset at work is all about returning to that spirit of curiosity, exploration, and lightheadedness.

    Here are some ways to embrace a playful mindset at work;

    A. Lead by example: Your actions and attitude define the organization. This doesn’t mean you need to be the funniest person at work. It’s about promising a culture where everybody feels easy experimenting with fresh ideas, failure, and contributing their exceptional talent in an engaging environment.

    Google 20% time policy

    Google’s 20% time policy is the ideal instance of it. Starting in 2004, Google employees are encouraged to utilize 20% of their work time for projects that they think will profit the company. This policy allowed Google employees to explore their ideas and creativity, boosting their innovative thinking.

    B. Encourage breaks: Let’s face it, you can’t expect your team to remain productive through the workday. Our brains require cycles of focus and rest. Playful breaks are the secret weapon for teams to recharge their minds and rejuvenate productivity.

    At Cyntexa, we trust our employees to take breaks whenever they need them. This freedom allows them to step away from a tired haze, and return to their tasks with renewed energy.

    Promote team building activities

    C. Promote team-building activities: Organize games and activities that promote teamwork and camaraderie. Before you picture awkward ice-breakers and forced fun, picture the “Role Switch” event conducted by Blinds Direct.

    During this event, the organization asked their employees to switch their roles with colleagues for a day. By doing this, the team members could better understand one another’s roles, thus bringing respect for one another.

    This is just one example of how playful team-building activities can transform the workforce. You can also design playful activities like these that resonate with your team.

    D. Provide playful spaces: If feasible, provide areas in your office where employees can unwind and have fun. This could be a game space, a quiet room for amusement, or even a space for creative activities.

    2. Recognizing and appreciating employees for their hard work

    Being human, it is basic for all of us to get an appreciation for our efforts. Therefore, recognizing and appreciating your employee’s hard work could help you create a culture where employees feel valued and motivated.

    According to a survey conducted by Great Place to Work and O.C. Taner, 37% of employees state that personal recognition drives their best work.

    According to another Achievers.com survey, 55% of employees who planned to leave the job said that not being recognized was the key reason for leaving.

    Employee appreciation programs can improve productivity and other benefits if implemented well. Here are some strategies to make them effective:

    A. Make it personal: Personalized appreciation programs are more effective than generic ones. They show that employers care about what their employees want and need. For example, Netflix personalizes its recognition programs by doing the following things:

    • Giving employees shout-outs in company meetings
    • Sending employees handwritten notes
    • Featuring employees in newsletters
    • These actions make employees feel valued and appreciated.

    B. Give holiday rewards and bonuses: You can introduce the yearly employee recognition programs, rewarding employees for outstanding performance. For example, Cyntexa’s partnership program recognizes top-performing employees and rewards them with holiday trips and bonuses.

    C. Celebrate small wins: Inflating morale is not only about celebrating a big achievement but also small victories. An employee’s daily or weekly achievements could be small wins that don’t appear significant at first but contribute to larger goals over time. Celebrating these victories can strengthen employee self-esteem and inspire them to execute their best.

    3. Build a culture of continuous learning and improvement

    Playfulness at work shouldn’t be just limited fun; it’s about building a culture of continuous learning and improvements. Here is how you can do so;

    Set a clear vision and communicate throughout the organization

    A. Set a clear vision and communicate throughout the organization: A clear vision is the foundation of achieving any goal. Based on a survey conducted by Brain & Co, organizations that have clear visions are twice as likely to achieve financial success. Clear vision improves the employee’s engagement, satisfaction, and innovation, ultimately driving success.

    B. Encourage learning by providing resources and support: This is the best way to show that you value your employee’s professional development and encourage their success. An employee survey on LinkedIn found that 94% of employees are more likely to stay at a company that advocates their professional development.

    Additionally, companies who invest in training programs have 218% higher income per employee, since they are better prepared to accommodate changing customer needs.

    You can provide your employees with access to online courses, virtual classrooms, podcasts, etc to prompt them to discover new skills and contribute to the innovation of your company.

    C. Embed learning opportunities into everyday tasks: Rather than consider learning an independently operating activity, try to embed it into everyday tasks, boosting the odds of employee engagement. As an example, you can create a social learning network for employees where they can share their learning experiences.

    D. Celebrate and recognize achievements: It encourages employees to pursue their streak of continuous learning and encourages them to inspire others to trace in their footsteps.

    Final take

    The fundamental to a successful business is a happy, engaged, and productive workforce. Playfulness at work is the best practice to breathe up creativity, innovation, and productivity. The strategies discussed in this blog will help you bring playfulness to your workplace.

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