"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts."
--- Richard Branson
In their book, The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz demonstrate that managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as health, happiness, and life balance. In it, they describe the necessity for rest: "We must learn to establish stopping points in our days; inviolable times when we step off the track, cease processing information, and shift our attention from achievement to restoration."
Most of us have a difficult time swallowing this advice because we are so trained to go, go, go until our wheels fall off. Then, we rest, treat our self-induced illnesses, or recoup in the hospital, all the while planning our next moves when we can break lose again.
"The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life."
--- Charles Schwab
One interesting way to give your mind and body rest is to take some time to play. Many corporations are instituting play time during the workday to allow a break for their employees. Business owners are finding that productivity levels increase when employees have a little "recess" time and employee retention levels have also increased.
It is widely believed that the concept began in Japan where before beginning the workday, employees participate in some light calisthenics. Then, in the afternoon, employees are free to take part in playful activities for one hour before going back to work.
"It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized."
The alleviation of work-related stress has been a concern since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In 1950s through the 1980s, the "liquid lunch" and the Happy Hour was the solution. Of course, these attempts only led to more serious problems.
What seems to work the best now is playtime. The creation of a little fun time zone incorporated into the work day has proven to reduce stress levels, thus reducing days off of work due to illnesses and injuries.
"Many companies have long contended that stress in the home causes productivity loss in the market place, and it does. But research now reveals that stress on the job causes stress at home. In other words, they feed off each other."
--- Zig Ziglar
See if you can institute some kind of fun during the workday for your team members. Be creative and come up with a system that fits your business. Obviously, some businesses cannot afford to have fun time every day, but allow for a break once or twice a week.
The short time sacrifice will pay off great dividends down the road and you know that you could use this refreshment time as well. Treat yourself to some fun. Put in a video game or pinball game in the shop or office, buy a Frisbee, hula-hoops, or puzzles, but do something.
"A good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring."
--- Mark Twain
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