Laughter is a powerful medicine for the soul. It’s a sentiment that’s as true as it is cliche. So, why are we all so serious? What prevents us from making time to laugh and play? Why do our children get to have all the fun?
In our hectic working days, we’re often “too busy” running from meeting to meeting and deadline to deadline to have a chance to enjoy down time with our colleagues. Team bonding happens after hours, but rarely focuses around laughter and play. This is a mistake, as having fun in the workplace is not only good for employee wellbeing, it boosts creativity, productivity and builds more connected teams.
The benefits of laughter and play
While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is also beneficial for people of all ages. Play brings joy to the everyday, relieves stress, accelerates learning, and connects you to those around you.
Laughter is a powerful response to play, and one that has been closely linked to mental health and wellbeing. Laughter impacts the limbic system, which is involved in all emotions and impacts basic functions necessary for human survival. The amygdala, hippocampus and nucleus accumbens are the three limbic structures that create laughter. They are both crucial for major human activities such as friendship, love and affection, as well as motivation and fluctuations in mood.
Laughter also reduces mental tension and increases levels of energy, enabling you to stay focused for longer periods of time. This then helps you to be more productive, creative and better at problem solving.
Laughter and play at work
Success at work is highly dependent on your employee’s wellbeing. Taking time to replenish through play is a highly effective way of getting more from your teams, while encouraging a company culture that focuses around camaraderie and fun.
Many progressive startups and digital companies have long understood the link between productivity and fun in the workplace. Some encourage play further by offering ongoing games and championships, and dedicated laughter and play sessions.
Laughter sessions are great for team building. They boost creativity and significantly reduce stress. In fact, laughter produces biochemical changes which are the exact opposite of the changes observed during stressful periods.
Taking the time to replenish through play is also highly valuable when large and daunting deadlines are looming. While this may seem counterproductive, taking some time out to have a laugh and take your employee’s minds off the task or problem at hand can actually help them better engage with their creative side. They are often then able to see a creative solution that was previously not there.
How you can use laughter and play more effectively
It’s tempting to make your staff work harder over longer hours when the workload increases. This will actually have the opposite effect to what you’re hoping. Without time to recalibrate, you will see instances of burnout rise and productivity decrease. Furthermore, team dynamics could be significantly impacted by heightened stress with no release.
Reduce stress through laughter and play with these top tips:
- Plan regular laughter and play sessions
- Provide valuable opportunities for social interaction among your teams
- Create a work culture that encourages silliness
- Encourage employees to take regular breaks from their desks
- Challenge teams to take part in games and competitions
Looking to take wellbeing in the workplace further? Get in touch to discover our full range of services, including laughter and play sessions, mindful creativity, team development and burnout prevention.