The importance of play

Four boys playing with a ball in a plantation of trees.
Photo by Robert Collins / Unsplash
The opposite of play is not work - it's depression – Stuart Brown

When we think about work and play as adult professionals in the Western world, we often think of them as incompatable with each other. However, if you think back to the times that you were learning a new thing, exploring a topic, where you hit a state of Flow, did it feel like play? To be a creative, and to create, we often need to play with ideas, concepts, physical things to better understand a problem space.

How can we be intentional about bringing play into our work and into our collective culture of work with others? We know and accept that children have to play to develop socially, mentally and creatively, why then do we dispense with accepting play in professional environments? There is a sense that play is non-productive time, however play can be some of the most productive time in an organization. When we play, we're accepting fluidity in perspecitves in concepts and ideas.

Play is an environment where we can naturally explore the possible. When we create environments where we supress play, we can create some really unfortunate psychological landscapes for people. Play is a way that we can link or thinking to the tangible, and is also a dynamic where people can connect to each other in different kinds of ways. Can you find ways that life and work become play?


How does play fit into your professional life? Do you have the ability to play in yor working life?

What are some ways that you can introdce play into your work life?

Think of a moment of play in your past. How did it begin, what emotions did you feel participating in the play? Was it social?

Stuart Brown on Play