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Work Disguised as Play?

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, Mar 06, 2012 @ 03:29 PM

guest speaker on having fun at workAccording to Wikipedia, there are critical differences between play and work- & they are not compatible.

The two distinct differences between work and play are:

  • Play is a self-chosen activity, rather than prescribed.
  • Play is a process rather than a predicted outcome or product.

Work, on the other hand, has a definite intent and a prescribed outcome.

Basically if we try to label a situation as play and add requirements and limitations than it is no longer play- it is work.

Play is voluntary, enjoyable, involves the make- believe, has no prescribed goal, is process oriented and involves active engagement.

When I am a guest speaker talking on having fun at work, I often ask people what the opposite of play is...and they always say work. Yet, if you have had fun at work in the past- than the opposite of work is not play.

I would argue that anyone involved in work that is enjoyable, creative and engaging would be more far more productive.

Furthermore, Why can't work be play? Even really fun games have some sort of rules. Structure built properly into work roles does not have to get in the way of playful abandonment and  full engagement.

For work to really be productive, it needs to be flexible to situations and allow for creativity, innovation and the make-believe.

Work usually has a definite intent and outcome, but it doesn't have to.  Sales professionals, engineers, physicians, factory workers, technologists... almost any occupation would flourish when thoughtful, educated professionals were given the leeway to think on their feet, react to the circumstances and be actively engaged in steering and creating the outcome.

When I am a guest speaker on having fun at work, audience members never argue that work can't be fun, because they have all been caught up in the moment, enjoying their work.

Maybe Wikipedia needs a guest speaker to talk to them about having fun at work?




Tags: fun at work, guest speaker on having fun at work, play and work

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