Out of all the FISH! Philosophy’s core pillars, the concept of Play is–perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively–often the most challenging for organizations and employees to wrap their minds around and to commit to integrating into their workplace culture.

This idea of Play is often very inviting at first; after all, who doesn’t like the idea of their work day being a little bit more fun? But as people dig into the idea, we hear a common refrain: “what we do here is far too serious for us to be playing around.” And hey, we totally get it. When you’ve got big ideas, big goals, and are serious about doing good in the world, it can feel weird to be told to Play more.

But today we want to set the record straight about what Play is, what it isn’t, and how integral it is to the power of the FISH! Philosophy–no matter the size or aim of your organization.

Harnessing Your Team’s Energy to Achieve Great Things

Far too often, people think that Play is an activity, a verb used for anything goofy, fancy-free, or just generally non-productive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there’s certainly room for those activities within the idea of Play, it helps to reframe Play not as an activity, but as an attitude–approaching your work with a mindset of curiosity, open-mindedness, and an enthusiasm to be constantly learning and trying new things.

Play doesn’t have to literally mean tossing a ball back and forth around your conference room, but Play does mean a willingness to toss ideas back and forth, to listen to your teammates even if their ideas don’t always sound immediately intuitive, and to approach any new challenge with passion and energy rather than simply going through the motions day-in and day-out.

Simply put, Play isn’t about stopping work to have fun; it’s about doing everything in your power to make sure work is fun. If your work and your workplace are inspiring, intellectually stimulating, and a free space to try new ideas and consider new approaches, that’s fun, and that’s Play. And if you can harness that Playful energy and direct it towards meeting every challenge head-on, there’s no limit to what your organization can achieve.

FISH! Philosophy: Integrating Play into Your Workplace

Play isn’t (necessarily) about having a foosball table in the breakroom or goofy framed photos on the walls–it’s about inspiring your team to speak their minds, wrangle with novel ideas, and bring a sense of fun and enthusiasm into every task they do. So how can you integrate Play into your workplace?

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • Do people in your organization feel trusted, supported, and respected enough to feel comfortable sharing new ideas in the workplace? If not, why not?
  • When your team faces a new challenge, how do you work to overcome it? Do you always just go with what the boss says, or do you open the floor to collective problem solving?
  • Are you integrating the other core pillars of the FISH! Philosophy into your workplace? If you’re always Being There for each other, finding ways to Make Their Day, and encouraging everyone to Choose Their Attitude, a Playful environment will often be the natural outcome.

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or info@fishphilosophy.com to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!