A few months ago, I was contacted by the good folks at Live in the Grey about doing a guest post and giveaway on my blog. The poster they sent me is super cool and will look great on your office wall! To be entered to win, please share this post on Twitter and tag me (@ahaddaway). I’ll pick a winner at random on June 20, 2013.
Live in the Grey (Liveinthegrey.com) is a new, rapidly growing movement started by Maneesh K. Goyal (founder of award-winning marketing agency MKG) and David Munczinski (Wharton student) encouraging individuals to step outside of a black-and-white world by influencing the blend of a personal and professional lifestyle and inspiring others to turn a passion into a career.
“Work hard, play hard” is a popular motto that suggests a work life balance is important. But who said you can’t be hardworking while having a good time? At Live in the Grey, we don’t believe people’s lives should be separated into work or play, black or white. We believe in living in the grey – blending work and play.
We’re not saying that, at times, work won’t be extremely stressful and even frustrating or that challenges might not occur. Of course they will, as that is part of professional reality. But, when the dust settles (as it always tends to do), what does the place look like? How do the people feel? We need to break down the barriers between work and play.
Here are a few ideas on how you can make work playful:
Give water cooler conversation a makeover
Create a place in your office for employees to express themselves. Dedicate a chalkboard or dry erase board to non-work related topics. The goal is to get employees to express themselves and share their interests. Examples for starter topics could be: What music are you listening to? What is the last book you read? What TV show is your guilty pleasure?
Creating a space for employees to bring their personal passions into the 9-to-5 allows people to find common ground and make their colleagues friends.
Showcase individual talent
During the course of the work day, an individual has ample opportunities to display their professional talents. In order to inject personality and playfulness into the office environment, engineer opportunities for employees to share their non-work talents.
For example, charity: water recently enlisted a member of their IT department to head up a work basketball team. As a former college basketball player, this individual was able to exhibit another side of himself on the basketball court, where the team at large, could not only be impressed by his athleticism, but also his leadership ability.
Get to know your boss
The atmosphere at work is often created from the top down. Make an effort to get to know the leaders on your team – what do they do outside of work for fun? Suppose your boss is a weekend karaoke star. Get their buy-in to organize a team karaoke activity. If your boss loves to bake, have an office bake sale.
Engaging your boss will be important to sustaining a playful work environment. Your goal is to get the boss to see that happy employees are productive employees.
As a baseline, working Americans spend an inordinate amount of time at work (not home) and with colleagues (not family). Any company that ensures their workplace has an underlying foundation of both support and fun – things we typically expect to receive from home and family – will attract the most talented employees.
If you are a business owner or HR professional and take the lead in creating your company culture, check out the video below to see tips from Live in the Grey co-founder Maneesh K. Goyal where he shares how he makes work playful at MKG, the first company he founded.
For more ideas on how to blend work and play, check out LiveintheGrey.com.
Here’s a sneak peek of the poster that you could win: