Some might think of play at work as a distraction, inappropriate or simply a waste of time. Their idea of play is that it’s taking time away from “real work.” Raise your hand if you want to work there.
Instead, imagine a workplace where people are allowed to play — and even better — encouraged to play. Thoughtful arts, cultural and wellness events in the workplace make people feel engaged, motivated and energized and help create a sense of community.
That’s what Securian Financial is striving to provide.
Author Joline Godfrey puts the concept into perspective. “All work and no play doesn’t just make Jill and Jack dull; it kills the potential of discovery, mastery, and openness to change and flexibility and hinders innovation and invention.”
Research has found evidence that play at work is linked with less fatigue, boredom, stress, and burnout in individual workers. Play is also positively associated with job satisfaction, competence and creativity. Studies show that when participants receive a task presented playfully, they are more involved and spend more time on it.1
“You may be surprised that a large financial services company offers such robust ways to engage in performance and play,” Elena Imaretska from Securian Financial’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Center of Excellence said. “The beauty of our culture is that we value each individual and strive to create a place where folks can not only bring their full selves but also stretch and grow in new ways.”
Fitting playtime into your day is essential for working productively. Play is a basic emotional system, essential in both child development and adult creativity, and studies show it increases job satisfaction, creativity, and innovation. More importantly, play prepares us to deal with the unexpected by broadening the breadth of experiences you have to draw from when meeting new challenges.2
In September, Securian Women and Allies Network (SWAN) used the power of play to engage new and seasoned members in a mid-day showcase, including games and opportunities to volunteer with women-focused nonprofits. For many, the highlight was a live choreographed dance performance by Securian Financial associates, incorporating banners with quotes and statistics to educate about the barriers to gender equality and steps to achieve it. Women and men performers — none were professional — simply wanted to be involved and were willing to be vulnerable by being on stage. Many in the audience were moved to tears.