Why is It Important to Play and Be Vulnerable in a Hybrid Workplace?

Due to the challenges of the current workplace setup, a lot of organizations have adopted the hybrid workplace. This type of workplace model gives flexibility to employees to work from home or in the office according to the demands of their work. While a hybrid workplace looks like the magic solution to the limitations of the modern workplace, it does come with a few weaknesses too. Discover the strategies being looked into by organizational leaders to overcome these challenges in unconventional ways.

Importance of Play in a Hybrid Workplace

Embracing play is a new approach that is creating a lot of buzz in the modern workplace. It’s not an entirely new concept though, given that gamification strategies have long been in use in the workplace and other similar settings. Just like the concept of play is critical to the development and creative thinking of young children, it can also have the same effects on adults. 

When you spend 8+ hours of your day working in front of your computer, it can be easy to feel uninspired and lose your motivation. When there is no inspiration or motivation, your productivity level also stalls. This is especially true in a hybrid workplace where many of your colleagues are at home. Working in an environment that makes you feel comfortable with no clear line between work and family life can pose a lot of problems in terms of productivity and engagement.

Some experts agree that the value of play at work is even more important in the creative field. Play is a great strategy to use to stimulate the creative aspects of the brain and to keep the mind stimulated enough to do work. It might seem contradictory for those who are new to this idea, after all, play is often seen as frivolous and a waste of valuable company time (and resources). But by rediscovering the value of play in the workplace, especially a hybrid one, it also develops a renewed enthusiasm for learning, development, and productivity. 

There are two ways that this is made possible and you can learn more about how play benefits a hybrid workplace below. 

how play benefits a hybrid workplace

Play Makes Us Vulnerable

It is human nature to strive to overcome vulnerability. No one wants to be vulnerable. But as it turns out, it has many benefits, not just in your social life, but also in the workplace. People think of the office as the last place you’d want to be vulnerable – it is supposed to be an environment where you showcase your strengths and your skills. 

Incorporating play in the hybrid workplace is one technique that you can use to encourage vulnerability. Here are some of the advantages of showing vulnerability in a hybrid workplace:

  • It encourages innovation as employees are not afraid to be ridiculed for those ideas.
  • It improves motivation as employees know they have a support system available when they need it.
  • It boosts teamwork since everyone is encouraged to communicate their thoughts and ideas when engaged in collaborative work. 
  • It promotes leadership skills and a culture that supports true connection among members of the team. 

Play is Important for Discovery, Problem-Solving, and Innovation

The concept of play-based learning in children is effective for a reason. It encourages the child to explore their immediate environment (discovery) and to solve problems using a practical approach. It also fosters innovation because they are free to explore on their own instead of being spoon-fed ideas and conventional learning.

But perhaps the most important thing about using play as an approach to learning and discovery is the fact that it brings joy. For employees in a hybrid workplace, the use of play helps them to shake off the boredom of working from home or in a hybrid office. It provides them with an avenue to experiment, engage in creative thinking, and to build bonds with their co-workers. 

Incorporating Play into Your Meetings

Virtual meetings are a common activity for members of a hybrid workplace. But with most employees engaged in virtual meetings almost on a daily basis, it is easy for your employees to suffer from meeting fatigue too. 

Meeting fatigue can make this activity counterproductive. It is when the team members feel lost, disengaged, and struggle with staying productive or meeting the objectives of such an activity in the first place. There are plenty of reasons why meeting fatigue can occur such as burnout or work exhaustion, lack of interaction, or not having a clear vision of what the meeting is about. 

You can boost engagement and interest among the participants of your meetings by incorporating play. This is what icebreakers are for. It sets the mood for the meeting ahead and puts everyone in a good mood such that they are ready to participate actively. 

There are several ideas to incorporate play such as using an online game app that the members of your team can participate in. This can include a virtual escape room or virtual game show – choose whatever game your team would be interested in. You can also host your own game or ask everyone in your team fun questions. There are plenty of team building games you can incorporate at the start of every virtual meeting session to encourage focus and engagement. 

incorporating play to hybrid meetings

Adopting a Practice of Play Before Large Online Events

The practice of adding a virtual icebreaker or games is applicable not just for small virtual meetings with your team, but this is also a great idea to kick off an online event. Aside from well-laid out content, you should also highlight the importance of interactivity in these virtual events. Many virtual event organizers use a variety of tactics such as gamification, trivia, polls, and quizzes. It helps to hold the attention span of the event participants and to increase engagement for the session ahead. 

Play is a good catalyst that frees every individual member of your hybrid team from traditional constraints. It also helps them let their guard down, so they respond freely to the ongoing activity while freeing up the mind to generate new ideas or respond to new challenges. If your hybrid workplace is stuck in a rut, it might be time to get creative and make time for play.