Magazine article Workforce Management

The Last Word

Magazine article Workforce Management

The Last Word

Article excerpt

All work and no play... Playforce Management. That would be our magazine's title in the kind of world that people like Josh Linkner envision. " 'Work' is such a negative-sounding word," Linkner said at a presentation I attended last month about innovation. The founder and CEO of the promotions company ePrize, Linkner also writes a blog about creativity on his website, www.thecreativitygeneration.com. "As kids, we go out to 'play.' Later in life, we 'play' sports or 'play' music," he writes in one posting. "But then in sharp contrast, we leave our homes each day and go to 'work.' The term implies doing uninspired, often boring and generally yucky things." Linkner thinks it would be much nicer to say you are "running off to play" and to hear your spouse respond: "Have a nice day at the playground." Consider "playing" out a conflict, he suggests, or "playing" through your next tough business challenge. His message certainly would resonate with members of the millennial generation, some of whom expect the freedom to shop online, listen to iPods and even take naps at the office. But it also makes me wonder whether all generations might appreciate mixing some play and relaxation into the workday. Indeed, for many people, "work" is the antithesis of the fun, freedom and creativity they experienced as children. So why don't we try to make work feel more like play? The notion of play in the workplace may sound zany, but it's really just one perspective in the long-standing debate over how to achieve balance in our lives. While some people think of balance as flexibility in managing both their personal and career demands, advocates of mixing work and play want something more holistic. They don't want to segregate their personal and professional worlds; they hope to meld those worlds so they don't have to leave part of themselves behind when they walk through the office door. What they seek is a blended life. Companies ranging from online retailer Zappos.com ("create fun and a little weirdness") to Southwest Airlines Co. ("fun-luving attitude") have made playfulness part of their corporate cultures. But Google Inc. is perhaps the paradigm for blending work and play. It has received abundant attention for letting employees at its Mountain View, Calif. …

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