Does Play at Work Improve Productivity?

When discussions of employee engagement arise, invariably the focus of the conversation tends to shift to formal reward structures (e.g., pay or benefits) and how they can be introduced to motivate certain behaviours at work. However, numerous case studies and a growing body of scientific evidence support a different way of thinking. Efforts to encourage employee happiness and well-being are having a tremendous positive impact. Using humour and play at work is important and can benefit both employees and the organization.

Although the notion of “play at work” may seem counterintuitive and the antithesis of common business practice, organizations that are opening their minds to these possibilities are reaping increased rewards as a result.

Encourage humour

A 2003 article from the Harvard Business Review, entitled “Laughing All the Way to the Bank”, showed that humour, when used skillfully, “greases the management wheels… It reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension, improves morale, and helps communicate difficult messages.”

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Craig Dowden

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Craig Dowden & Associates is a firm focused on supporting clients in achieving leadership and organizational excellence by leveraging the science of peak performance. He is author of Do Good to Lead Well: The Science and Practice of Positive Leadership.


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