As I rest and relax with my family on the beach, at the pool, with a game or two of mini golf squeezed in, my thoughts meandered to the meaning of Labor Day. Labor Day was declared a federal holiday in 1894 post Industrial Revolution to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.
Usually, I post about the way we work, but today in honor of Labor Day, I want to focus on the importance of play. Whether it’s time taken on vacation, a hobby on the weekend or break in the office day, play is more important than many of us think.
If you have forgotten how to play head over to your local playground and watch the children invent all sorts of games. If you are really daring, swing. It’s an unbelievable feeling. As a ‘cure’ for my vertigo, my ENT recommended I swing on my daughter’s playground. It’s very effective and a lot of fun! And your kids will love it if you get out there and play with them.
How we define play may be vastly different. I love to take photographs, listen to music and play scrabble or solitaire and other card games. My perfect day would be spent curled up in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and a good book. My husband prefers to play guitar or golf to relax.
“I get it; I love it; I want it; Where is it?”
In ‘The Element’, Sir Ken Robinson defines the element as the “meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion”. Being in the element people feel “more alive, more centered and more vibrant than at any other times”. Sort of sounds like play, doesn’t it? Robinson contends that we are all capable of finding this.
Most of you will know Dr. Paul Samuelson, first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. He states that “As precocious youngster, I had always been good at logical manipulations and puzzle-solving IQ tests. So if economics was made for me, it can be said that I too was made for economics. Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”
Some offices, usually tech, have figured out the importance of play and have offices that encourage it. These are often the offices most interested in attracting Generation Y (add link). These companies recognize that Generation Yers have a different work style. They won’t be slotted into a traditional 9 to 5 job.
Love to hear from you! Which office idea sparks your imagination?
Have a productive week,
(photo credits: all photos from my board Office Play on Pinterest, credits are listed on each photo)