Play culture in companies: Playing children - management consulting | coaching
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Organisational development

Come and play! A plea.

From Sabine Walter and Silke Kirsch

Do you have playrooms in your company? Not yet? Then let's do it. Play is generally attributed to children. But the joy of play is part of our DNA. Inspired by the book "Save Play: Because Life is More than Functioning" by the author duo Hüther / Quarch, we present in this article the benefits that games have for all of us and thus also for companies.

Children discover life through play. For them, play is part of and a prerequisite for their development. Without thinking, they try things out curiously, without fear and full of joy - alone or with others. Children do not need much to let their creativity run free. Cardboard boxes, a blanket and lots of imagination and off they go, the journey. We adults often lose the joy of play.

But what opportunities are there in the game (and we don't mean computer games) and how can companies use this for themselves?

Free play promotes creativity.

New things can emerge during play. Companies that encourage creativity through play have significantly greater chances of bringing groundbreaking innovations to market and they empower their staff and managers to do so, Think in a more solution-focused way and deal with change better.

Free play creates encounter and communication

When we interact with each other in the game, we meet each other at eye level. We talk to each other - even beyond team boundaries. This gives staff the opportunity to network, build and strengthen relationships and, as a result, solve problems through informal channels. 

Free play promotes team spirit

The best way to play is together. Hüther/Quarch write: "Playfully creative solutions can only be developed by those who, instead of becoming lone warriors, have stayed together with others. Who, instead of becoming specialists, have remained generalists and who - instead of becoming differentiated and age-rigid - have remained young and differentiated."

Playing takes away fear and increases the joy of life

Play offers us a protected space to try things out. There is no right and no wrong in it. There is nothing to achieve, but the joy lies in the game itself. The path is the goal.

What can you do concretely to establish a culture of play in your company?

  • Create time and space for free play: Table football, which can now be found in many companies, is a start. In addition, creative and game rooms can be set up where board or card games are available. Open or green spaces belonging to the company can also be used for outdoor games.
  • Make sure that playing is accepted as part of everyday work. Otherwise, the rooms stand empty because no staff member dares to use them. The play area and play must be free of fear and pressure - only then can creativity unfold.
  • Offer Games with varying complexity this promotes the formation of new synapses in the brain and helps to think outside the box in everyday life.
  • Use Lego to creatively and playfully solve everyday questions or to develop something new. 

What exactly should such a play or creative space look like? Silke Kirsch, interior designer and team leader at the Rappenglitz trade fair construction companyhas some tips on this.

  • A Play & Creative Room should clearly distinguish itself from the usual office style and Cosy and inviting be designed. That is, Armchairs or sofas invite you to chill out. A large long table with bar stools becomes a meeting place for exchanging ideas or playing games.
  • The room should restrainedly designed so that thoughts and creativity can flow freely and attention is where it should be, talking to colleagues, playing or trying things out creatively.
  • A Large free (wall) area for notes, mind games, sketches is a must.
  • Lego, board games, Mikado, balls for juggling, Pens, glue, tapes, slips of paper, origami papers, modelling clay, coloured cardboard, felt, watercolours should be sufficiently available.
  • A Billiard table and a well-equipped workbench with wood and other materials offers men an attractive time-out in this room. 
  • If you have a Kitchenette and coffee station integrate into the room or have directly in front of the room, this also contributes to the use of the room.

Play is - for big and small - a prerequisite for our further development and unfolding of potential. Only when we succeed in approaching the challenges in our lives in a playful way do we retain the openness we need to develop different alternatives for solving problems. Companies that understand this and develop a play culture promote creativity, innovation, process thinking, teamwork and, incidentally, they get more satisfied employees.

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We send out our newsletter about once a month, providing tips and information on the topics of leadership and organisational development. You can cancel the subscription and unsubscribe at any time. We use the E-Mail address you provide here exclusively for sending the newsletter and do not pass it on to third parties.

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