Work Shouldn’t be a Four-Letter Word


By Patti Jordanne


In today’s stress-filled, down-sized, pressure-cooker organizations people are burning out or performing poorly.  It’s no secret that companies are losing good employees and that now more than ever it’s vital to look at ways to engage and retain employees, improve morale, increase wellness, and create an enthusiastic workforce that performs optimally. A miracle is needed, perhaps?  There is a simple solution to these and other workplace issues. It’s effective and fun. Are you ready for this?  Play!

6 Tips to Implement Play in the Workplace


  1. Establish a “Play Committee”
  2. Hold “Play Days”
  3. Design “Surprise Days”
  4. Offer “Wellness Lunches” (or “Wellness Weekends”)
  5. Construct a “Fun Board”
  6. Create a “Toy Box”

Play requires mindfulness, a flow of creativity, imagination and spontaneity—all things we value in the workplace. These are also things we value in our life to make it rich, meaningful and whole. Play requires teamwork,  communication, a sense of belonging and a sense of humour. Everyone likes to have fun, laugh and experience joy. We spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else so why should work be anything but enjoyable?

Adults are no different than children: They flourish in an environment that nurtures, supports, uses their unique abilities, connects them positively to one another, and is fun!  Play is a method (and attitude) of doing this easily, quickly, effectively and inexpensively. Successful companies are not choosing between work and play but rather integrating them both. Companies that are on the cutting edge of innovation value play in the workplace. Many companies have discovered the health benefits of incorporating play in the workplace with reduced sick time, less burnout and depression, and improved work-life balance. In other words, play has become serious business.


Studies indicate that play:


Attracts and Retains Employees

  • Play promotes a sense of belonging and commitment while stimulating enthusiasm for buying into the company vision and goals.
  • Organizations voted top places to work all have in common a sense of fun where employees enjoy coming to work.

Improves Creativity and Innovation

  • Play helps you get out of your head and into your body, increasing right-brain function.
  • Play increases energy, and laughter increases relaxation. Both are springboards for creativity.  
  • Ha + Ha + Ha = Aha!

Increases Productivity

  • Highly motivated employees are up to 127% more productive than averagely motivated employees in high complexity jobs. (Fortune Magazine, January 1998.)


Engages Employees

  • Play reduces boredom and increases interest. It is stimulating, enjoyable, and employees become more present.  
  • Play improves enthusiasm for work.

Reduces Stress

  • Play promotes relaxation, reduces depression, helps create work-life balance, and it provides an emotional break from “problems”. 

Improves Health

  • Play leads to laughter, and laughter changes the chemicals in your body and boosts the immune system.
  • It lowers blood pressure, reduces burnout and other work-related illnesses, alleviates depression and reduces sick time. 

Improves Employee Morale

  • Play helps people tap into their sense of humour.
  • It helps create an optimistic mind-set in individuals, a more enjoyable work culture, and it positively changes attitudes towards work.  

Improves Relationships

  • Play increases trust and promotes camaraderie and alliance.
  • It develops effective teams and synergistic relations 

Connects People

  • Play helps build teams, create a collaborative environment, and flatten hierarchy.  

Enhances Leadership

  • Play humanizes the workplace.
  • It encourages communication, teamwork and cooperation and decreases antipathy towards management.
  • Play in the workplace aligns with the tenets of 21st century leadership. 

Improves Learning

  • Play stimulates the mind, improves learning, memory and retention, and increases cooperative learning. 

And play is fun!  There is no denying that everyone loves to have fun. Play is like a dose of sunshine for the soul.


Hence, it’s time to rethink the way play is viewed in the workplace. Play is not just a luxury or superfluous—it is time- and cost-effective, simple, and humanizing. Ultimately, it’s smart business.


Play brings a whole new meaning to the word work. Play is the new four-letter word!

Patti Jordanne, B.Ed, MA, CSTC, is an experienced educator and vibrant facilitator with a passion for learning, life and personal and professional development. She holds a Master’s degree in Leadership and Training, has designed and delivered the leadership course for MBA students at Royal Roads, and continues to provide Professional Coaching services with business leaders, individuals and groups, and teens. She also facilitates Health and Wellness Seminars in Corporations. Patti inspires others with her passion for PLAY and her beliefs that fun and laughter can improve a myriad of current organizational concerns. She teaches and lives by the “fun is good” philosophy and her trademark is fun, energy and enthusiasm. She is an inspirational speaker, writer, coach, educator and corporate seminar leader.

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