Play To Win

A Human Recession 

Unprecedented change, new rounds of layoffs announced every day, and managers burning out.  We’ve yet to see the much feared financial recession, but we’re certainly seeing a human recession. 

Workplaces are “reviewing the efficacy” of employee wellbeing and development spend [read: cost cutting]. Learning and development is almost entirely digital, with low adoption and high drop out rates. Travel and entertainment budgets haven’t bounced back since the pandemic. We’re oscillating between working between remote work and return to work demands. Eyes roll at the mention of the ‘water cooler’. 

We’re pulling back from each other, becoming entrenched, and communities at work are struggling.

So what can you do? 

The team that plays together stays together

If you want creative workers give them enough time to play.

Lead into the fear 

I work with a lot of business leaders. I hear the fear that proposing more light hearted ways of getting together when things are so tough be perceived as cynical loud and clear. I understand that when we know things will be challenging we may not want to face up to our people and suggest play. But the one thing I can guarantee is that your people will fill the void, the silence, and view the reduced social interactions, with you, as a group, as a sign that the worst possible thing is coming. Engage, be authentic, be human. Check out 22 quick and easy office games and give one a try. Encourage, endorse and take part in play and watch productivity soar. 

Invest in your people

Even if there’s a chance they won’t be there in 12 months. Many firms know there’s a chance they will make cuts in the future and developing people may not be their priority. Well it’s a priority for your people. Whether staying or going, your team is the biggest advocate you can have as an organisation. When people are given the opportunity to grow their skills and careers, they will cheerlead your brand. When they’re not…hello toxic glass door reviews and work of mouth in the industry. Be the leader you’d want to work for, and invest in your people’s development – it doesn’t have to be expensive in dollar terms, often it’s a case of time investment. Which brings us to…

Create capacity 

There are undoubtedly huge benefits in the flexibility of hybrid working and the ability to work at all hours. The downside is that we’ve reduced the time we have for rest and time with our loved ones (without a cheeky inbox check). We’ve cut the time to come together as a team to bond, build community, and build organisational resilience. As leaders, by scheduling committed time for “work play” you make it part of the DNA of your culture. Whether it be off sites, virtual  gatherings, celebrations, organisational sports teams, book clubs, art appreciation… when you ask people to return, when you ask them to gather, make it meaningful.   

The #1 attribute of successful individuals and organisations in today’s day and age is adaptability. Authentic leadership, personal growth, and taking time to both work and play builds community, builds followers, and builds adaptable teams that can both transform and perform at the same time. 

Don’t believe me? This man has stats

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