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Why is Playfulness Important in the Workplace?

By CHOYS Community
27 Jul 2023

How would you define the current global work culture?

Two prevalent characteristics that come to mind are: Fast-paced and demanding.

But recent developments in people’s expectations from work environments have introduced a concept called ‘playfulness’.

A 2019 Forbes article emphasised the importance of play for adults because it can boost productivity by 20%!

But what does it mean to have playfulness in the workplace, and why is it important to have fun while working?

If these questions are weighing on your mind, keep reading this blog to discover the impact of play in the workplace.

Understanding the Concept of Play at Work

A Child reminds us that playtime is an essential part of our daily routine.


One may mistake play for mere fun and games. In reality, it involves a natural sense of curiosity, creativity, and experimentation that fosters growth and development.

For children, play is an essential aspect of learning, as it enables them to explore the world around them, develop social skills, and enhance cognitive abilities. After transitioning into adulthood and professional life, the idea of play might seem incompatible with the serious demands of the workplace. But it is far from the truth.

For adults, playfulness at work doesn't mean indulging in childish activities; instead, it revolves around embracing a positive, lighthearted approach to tasks and interactions.

How Does Playfulness Impact the Way You Work?

Playfulness in the workplace has tangible benefits that contribute to the overall success of individuals and teams. When employees are encouraged to infuse their work with a sense of fun and playfulness, the positive effects ripple throughout the organisation:

Importance of Playfulness in the Workplace

1. Reduced Stress Levels

When discussing playfulness, you might think of children having fun, but did you know that playfulness can also work wonders for adults?

Researchers have been exploring this fascinating aspect more recently, shedding light on its positive effects in adulthood. A 2022 study examined how playfulness, perceived stress, and coping styles are interconnected in young adults.

The findings were quite intriguing! Those who showed higher levels of playfulness reported lower stress levels than their less playful counterparts. This is so because playful individuals are more likely to use adaptive, stressor-focused coping strategies and less likely to resort to negative, avoidant, and escape-oriented methods.

Being playful helps adults adapt and thrive during stressful situations. So, encouraging playfulness at work is a great way to empower employees to cope effectively with stress, positively impacting their physical well-being and mental health.

2. Improved Holistic Well-Being

Now you know playfulness as a potent stress reliever, offering a refreshing escape from the daily grind. It provides a space to recharge and find moments of joy amidst life's demands.

Being playful allows you to explore new perspectives, leading to a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. There is a growing body of research that suggests that playfulness can improve a variety of aspects of holistic adult well-being, including:

  • Life satisfaction: Playful adults are more satisfied with their lives. This is likely because play helps you experience positive emotions like joy, excitement, and creativity.
  • Mental health: Play can also be helpful for mental health in adults. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Play can also help improve your cognitive function, such as problem-solving and creativity.
  • Physical health: Play can also have a positive impact on physical health. It helps adults stay active, reduces the risk of obesity and chronic diseases, and improves sleep quality.
  • Social well-being: Playfulness in adults helps them connect with others and build stronger relationships. Being cheerful and rejuvenated allows you to share your thoughts and feelings, have fun, and learn from each other.

3. Increased Trust Between Employees

In the dynamic world of modern workplaces, trust serves as the bedrock of collaboration and success. And playfulness can be a powerful catalyst in building trust between employees.

When employees engage in playful interactions, barriers melt away, and genuine connections form. Playful banter shared laughter, and light-hearted moments create a positive and inclusive atmosphere where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Employees gain a deeper understanding of each other's personalities and strengths through playful activities. This deeper insight fosters empathy, leading to a greater appreciation for individual contributions.

And when trust thrives, communication flows freely. Playfulness breaks down communication barriers, encouraging open dialogue and active listening among team members.

4. Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

In the dynamic realm of modern workplaces, playfulness fosters creativity and drives innovation.

Embracing a playful approach to work creates an atmosphere where employees can tap into their imagination and explore new possibilities without fear of judgement.

Playfulness nurtures a positive work environment, encouraging open communication, collaboration, and risk-taking. A 2021 research analysed how playful work design leads to more creativity.

It confirms the profound impact of playfulness on creativity within the workplace. The study highlights that Playful Work Design (PWD) positively influences employees' flow experience, fostering heightened focus and enjoyment.

This, in turn, contributes to enhanced creativity in their work. The results underscore the potential of playfulness to unleash employees’ full creative potential, propelling organisations towards greater success and innovation.

5. Increased Energy Levels

Playfulness in adults can remarkably boost energy levels and invigorate the mind and body. Engaging in playful activities releases endorphins, acting as natural stress relievers and combating feelings of fatigue and mental exhaustion.

Additionally, playful experiences trigger dopamine release, lifting mood and energy levels, creating a sense of enthusiasm and motivation. Playful activities often involve movement and physical activity, increasing energy levels and overall well-being. As adults engage in playful problem-solving and imaginative thinking, their minds become more active and alert, boosting cognitive energy.

Playfulness fosters positive social interactions and a sense of belonging, energising individuals through shared experiences and laughter.

Playfulness provides a mental shift and renewal by taking a break from daily routines and embracing a lighthearted attitude, contributing to increased energy and a more vibrant outlook on life.

6. Promoting Work-Life Balance

In January 2023, the International Labour Organisation published a report with insights into global working hours and work-life balance.

The report revealed that more than one-third of workers regularly work over 48 hours per week, negatively affecting their work-life balance.

*Read the full report here.

Employees need to enjoy the present moment and strike a healthy balance between work and leisure. Employers allowing and offering flexitime and telework is a step in the right direction towards a healthy work-life balance for employees.

It is important to note that flexible and reduced work timings are not just beneficial for employees; they also enhance trust and respect in employer-employee relationships.

Final Takeaway

Embracing playfulness in the workplace is vital for fostering creativity, reducing stress, and building trust among employees.

Its positive impact on overall well-being and energy levels makes playfulness a key factor in promoting a healthy work-life balance.

By incorporating playfulness into the work culture, organisations can unlock their teams' full potential and drive innovation, ultimately leading to greater success and well-being for every employee involved.