What if someone told you that you could make your employees more productive, and that you could actually make them happier in the process? As it turns out, you can. And the answer isn't more work; according to author Tracy Brower, it's more play.
"In a new study, teams that played a collaborative (video) game together for just 45 minutes were able to increase their productivity on a task by 20 percent," Brower writes in a recent article for Forbes.com
. "Perhaps all those expensive team-building programs or outlandish group retreats are over-reaching. Perhaps all you need to build culture and improve performance is a gaming council and some willing colleagues."
Although the study revolved around a video game, the truth is: Any game will do.
"The reasons play helps teams and their results … are well-founded. Company cultures that allow for play are better able to tap into the best in their employees, and employees themselves can bring more effectiveness into their work," says Brower, who adds that the secret to making play productive is choosing structured instead of unstructured games -- that is, games with rules and objectives. "Organized play (versus simply goofing around, which has its own merits) tends to have common goals and simple rules. Common goals are good for teams and their work because they align and unite people. This alignment and focus tend to provide a sense of purpose and 'line of sight' in which team members can see how their roles matter and how their efforts contribute to the whole."
Try a lunchtime game of kickball in the summer, or an afternoon of board games in the winter. Even trivia or a scavenger hunt can do the trick. Whatever it is, make sure it fosters teamwork. And most important of all, make sure that it's fun.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?Contact Successful Meetings with your "How To" ideas.