I wanted to start by saying I just read this article and I thought it was fab! I hope you think so, too.
The very idea that allowing your employees to “goof off” to improve their overall performance flies in the face of everything we’re ever taught about how the corporate world works. BUT, don’t you think it makes some sense?
I believe that Erik Wahl might be spot on about his assessment that we run businesses in ways that don’t encourage creative and innovative thinking. That mindset is killing American productivity and, what’s worse, demotivating our employees…and ourselves.
There are so many good ideas in the article that I wanted to highlight a couple of them for you.
Allowing your team to play, for example with clay as Wahl suggests, before a meeting will get the creative
energy flowing. Not only does the physical joy f getting your hands dirty, metaphorically at least, get the team happy and encouraged but the interaction with them about what they made makes everyone feel like they are really part of the organization. The key is not just playing but also engaging with one another. If clay doesn’t work for you, consider drawing or bad haiku writing to make everyone laugh and get the creative juices flowing. What about offering a big box of Legos in the center of the conference room table?
I’ve been bringing toys to my corporate and public health trainings for years. I scatter an assortment of them on the tables and then let people play and create at will. (I only have one rule . . . share :-)!
Wahl also mentions idle time which is often seen as the enemy in corporations. However, expecting your employees to sit at their desks for 8 hours straight is what is really killing productivity. Do you know what is really happening? Your team is spending some of their time pretending to be busy and hoping you don’t noticing them surfing the net. The heads down employees who work differently than the rest of your staff are resentful that they can’t do the same thing. Don’t punish your staff for not doing their job but encourage them to take some time away to tune out so they can come back with a fresh perspective. According to Wahl, allowing your employees to go for walk or think quietly for a while can fuel the very innovation you want to encourage.
Give “goofing off” a try in your office. See what your team can create when they have an opportunity to express themselves differently.