There is a reason play is important; it helps people to learn, it nurtures social skills, teaches communication and so much more. Even though these are all skills that are pertinent in the workplace, play is oftentimes thought of as an activity for children. In this article we discuss games for the office that can facilitate honesty and openness.
Honesty and openness are important if you want people to work well together. Sharing ideas with a colleague in the absence of trust can be an uphill task. And if you cannot be honest then workplace relationships will suffer. Games help to lower peoples’ guards and make them better collaborators. Here are a few games to try if you are aiming for more openness and honesty in the office.
Indoor obstacle course
It is hard to be honest with someone that you do not trust. So to get to honesty, trust has come first. This game gives everyone a chance to be a leader and for everyone else to put their trust in them.
The game requires, a set of obstacles, these can be chairs and boxers scattered on the office floor, one colleague to be blind folded and another colleague whose job it is to guide their blind folded colleague through the obstacles.
You can opt to have teams with more than one blind folded employee being guided. Whoever completes the course without running into the obstacles, or running into the least obstacles, wins.
Penny for your thoughts
An environment where vulnerability and sharing are encouraged will lead to honesty and openness. However, it may not be easy for everyone to open up. Help them to do so with a game like penny for your thoughts.
To play, collect coins with different years on them and have people pick them at random. Everyone has to share something memorable that they were doing or remember from that year. (The years need to match with the ages of employees) You can also improvise and write the years on papers instead. Have people pick them out and share.
Pass the button
With this game, a team member with the button asks everyone to close their eyes before handing the button to someone else.
With their back turned, they count to 10, and the new button holder has the option to keep the button or pass it to someone else. Once the original holder of the button is done counting, they then have to choose who actually has the button. They are given no clues.
On the surface, this game is full of guessing and laughing but it can be a good tool to demonstrate the downsides of keeping secrets and how distrust between colleagues can breed. In the office, you want information to flow freely so everyone knows what they need to know in order to do their job well.
Office colouring table
While it is fine to schedule game time, you do not want it to feel like another task for employees. Incorporate games where employees can take part without having to organise a team. One of these is having a table dedicated to colouring, an activity that can be therapeutic.
It should have a number of colouring books, pages and colours for anyone who might need them. When employees have a chance to decompress and relax, they are in a better state of mind to communicate openly with each other.
Other benefits of games for the office
Game rooms for offices were popularised by tech giants Google and Apple. However, you do not need to dedicate an entire room to games and any workplace, even a hospital, can incorporate games for the office and realise a number of benefits.
It is important to see the silly side of people, even in the workplace. Games give people a chance to kick back and not take themselves too seriously. This makes them more relatable and approachable. More than that, games can reveal interesting commonalities amongst colleagues.
One might learn that another colleague uses the same strategy in playing a particular game. Having more in common, even if it’s something outside of work, is good for team bonding.
When we play, we innovate and we come up with strategies. Games give our brains a chance to think differently. These are traits that are very useful in the work place. According to Stuart Brown the founder of the National Institute for play, creative connections are made in the brain when we are at play.
From time to time, deadlines and the work load can become stressful. This can interfere with not just quality of work but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees. Stress also comes at a financial cost.
According to research, stress cost the UK economy 9.9 billion dollars in 2019. In Australia, the cost of stress was reportedly $10 billion.
Games for the office are one way to counter this stress. Games help people to relax and to psychologically detach from work during breaks.
Workers who are confident can make bold decisions, they are not afraid to innovate and challenge the status quo. Playing games lays the foundation for this. Employees have a chance to voice opinions and constructively challenge each other in a comfortable setting. This builds the confidence muscle that is required when executing their tasks.
They are fun!
One of the best reasons to have games for the office is for the simple fact that they are fun. You want employees to see their office as a place where they can laugh and have a good time.
One of the simpler ways to encourage honesty and openness is to introduce games for the office. That’s not all that will happen, you will also be able to raise morale, increase productivity and improve team bonding. While these are perhaps the unintended outcomes, remember that games should be a time for employees to relax.
They shouldn’t be too rigorous or overly structured. Let your employees have fun with the games and they will appreciate this new addition to your culture.