Maximising workplace productivity through workplace play - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

Maximising workplace productivity through workplace play

Written by on February 26, 2016 in Work with 0 Comments

Microplay_pr 250x200Dina Cooper coaches, speaks and consults with individuals and businesses on the human mind. Both she and Creative Play consultant, Anton Buchner, explore the fundamentals behind preparing the mind for short bursts of play to improve productivity. This is known as Microplay. You can find out more about Microplay at our upcoming Wellness@Work expo where Dina and Anton will be exhibiting at Stand 46 as well as taking part in our free seminar program. In the meantime, enjoy this interview with Dina which provides a tantalizing teaser.

What exactly is Microplay?

Anton Buchner and I started it together as we share the same view about how people can be more positive and productive if they understand themselves better. Too many people talk with words like mindfulness, collaboration, motivation, yet very few actually understand how to do it. I was one of them! So we created a business around teaching individuals how to understand their brain better and how they can open up dormant brain paths to connect better with themselves and others. We integrate this ability with short bursts of play showing people how meaningful play drives personal productivity in their everyday lives.

Sounds intriguing. What do you mean by “dormant brain paths”. It sounds a little scary.

It’s not scary at all. It’s actually fascinating how the brain works. In short, it’s a massive circuit board of connected pathways. Many of which are ‘unwalked’ due to our environment and upbringing conditioning. So we teach people to open up new parts of their brain, and understand that these new paths can help stimulate their senses, drive innovative thinking, and help them connect better with themselves and others. It all starts from within.

That’s a good point; that “it all starts from within”. Do you see this as a problem in business today?

Yes. We see too many managers being forced to impress ideas on their people. Telling them they have to engage. There is now quite a bit of money being spent on focusing on employee wellbeing. Managers offer ‘things’ to make their business environment and people’s time at work more fun. But if you’ve experienced any of these (which we have) they end up being the same old office drinks, or games zones which no one feels like using for fear of looking unproductive.

So is the problem with people or management?

It’s both actually. Ultimately the problem is with all of us as individuals. Whether you’re a director, leader, employee, parent or home manager, we all need to understand what drives us on the inside. When we say ‘collaborate’, we need to understand that everyone has a different idea of what collaboration means. When we say ‘work hard to be productive’, we need to understand that humans need to, in essence, ‘switch off’ in order to become productive. The mind needs to be freed up in order to think, innovate and create. It’s counterintuitive but you can’t argue with neuroscience.

And why have you landed on play as your solution?

There’s a lot of research that now points to the link between play and productivity. It all focuses on wellbeing and maintaining a life balance. This makes so much sense to us and comes naturally from our pasts. Anton has worked in the advertising industry and brings a creative flair and natural sense of playfulness that he has incorporated into his personal, family and work lives. And I have always been intrigued by how working parents manage work and family play. So meeting Anton has been serendipitous. He’s the big kid and I add the science. And together we can actually show people how to develop short bursts of play techniques that not only match their personality but can be incorporated into a daily plan to be more productive. We’re not fighting against a trend. We’re trying to make the play trend real rather than superficial.

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