All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Remember that line from the Shining?  Jack was one scary guy.  I’m glad he didn’t work in my office.   But his manifesto was right on the money.   All work and no play is dull as hell.  

We learn best when we are trying new things with an open mindset.  We build stronger work relationships when we are in a positive state of mind.   So how do we create this kind of environment at work?  Add more play to work.

Toys.  Pass around a jar of playdoh at your next meeting and take a whiff.     Ah, the smell of childhood.  Now go ahead and give it a good squish.  Do you feel those creative juices starting to flow?   

Group Activity.  Take your team out to do a community service activity.  This week we took a group of 30 new hires out to a park renovation site in Raleigh and spent two hours painting fences.  It was 85 degrees under a bright blue sky.   We accomplished good work for the local park, but the sense of group pride and camaraderie generated was priceless.  

Shows.   Last month we had a large meeting in Chicago with our senior leaders and high potentials from across the Americas.   For fun, we watched the Blue Man Group perform.  The show was innovating, fresh and engaging.   Alot like the type of company that we are trying to be.   After the show the producer, music director and one of the blue men talked with our group.   They described that a great show is when they feel fully engaged with the audience when everyone is having fun.  Work is the same way.  Great work happened when we are fully engaged.   

Exercise.   At this same meeting, we closed out the two-day session with a 45 minute Tai Chi lesson.   Picture 90 people in bright green shirts posing like the karate kid.   We took a risk adding this to the itinerary, but the feedback was incredibly positive.   Why? because it was a fun.

Go ahead.  Add more play to work.


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One response to “All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

  1. Loved this post, Melissa. I think you could embellish on this theme with a sequel to this article detailing some of the other fun events you have introduced to your organizations over the years: the international meal where employees had a pot luck lunch/dinner comprised of family recipes they made at home and brought in to share, your recent sequewaying through Chicago parks experience, etc. etc. You always seem to come up with these really fun things to do with employees. I think your readers would appreciate learning about your creative ways to engage employees in “fun” team-building type activities. What about the time you had the team assemble an artificial hand (or was it foot or leg?) Of am I just imaging this??? ERM

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