Tuesday 30 August 2016


For almost all office workers, the simple act of stepping back to take stock of an average workday is likely to yield startling results. On average, a desk job requires 8 or more hours staring nonstop at a screen, often with lunches taken at the desk. This lifestyle is a surefire pathway towards all forms of physical aches and incredible levels of stress. In America, a recent study found that an entire one third of employees experience chronic stress related to work. Chronic stress has been commonly linked with increased risks of strokes, heart attacks, and can often exacerbate other health issues, such as acne, obesity and depression.

A technique to battle this hydra of health problems can be found simply in: play. Play serves as a form of both relaxation and stimulation for the mind and body, and is not merely beneficial, but in fact essential.

People often forget the immense benefits that play has for adults. Aside from endless personal health benefits that include acting as an antidote to depression, isolation, loneliness and anxiety, the lessons that play teaches can even help one further one’s career significantly.

Companies are sitting up to take note of the increased levels of creativity and innovation, perseverance, motivation, and energy when they encourage their employees to engage in play. It has been demonstrated that employees who can better manage their stress become more productive, and are able to contribute more effectively to their companies. Companies where employees report high stress levels often find that productivity levels plummet and result in higher absenteeism, resulting in expensive liabilities. The project of stress management is one that everyone has a vital stake in and should be approached as such.
The poster child for a play-centric culture is, of course, Google. Google’s culture is legendary, structured around the core philosophy of creating “the happiest, most productive workplace in the world”. The company lets its employees have almost free rein to design their office spaces to push the boundaries of the workplace to foster maximum levels of fun and creativity. Employees are also literally paid to play beach volleyball or go rock climbing in their California campus.

However, Dr Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, notes that merely adding toys or redesigning a workplace does not immediately create a playful workplace environment. He describes play as a “state of being”, which is individual to each person. He encourages people to commit to engaging in activities which make them happy in their free time, and for companies in turn to ensure that employees maintain a healthy work-life balance to pursue their chosen “state of plays” as well.

All work and no play does not merely make Jack a dull boy. Play is as essential to life as breathing, and the sooner individuals and companies alike realise that, the better.
Life Balance | Work and Play | Life | Article | MyMailMoment