Can business and fun make great workmates? Apparently so! This article explores how businesses are designing their work environments around the philosophy that play and fun can help inspire their employees to design more innovative ideas, products and services.

Organizations have found that implementing vibrant colors, games, interior gardens and, in some cases, large slides serve the dual purpose of stimulating the imaginations of their employees and reducing the stresses associated with meeting goals and deadlines.

Playful interior design elements also encourage more interaction, collaboration and idea sharing among employees. There is definitely a reduction in absenteeism and an increase in productivity. Lastly, the author states that an office space speaks volumes about its values and workplace culture. Playfulness in the work culture is an asset for an organization looking to differentiate itself from competitors, helping retain talent and attract new employees.

The article is peppered throughout with great examples and images of such ‘playful’ companies. Denmark’s famed toy manufacturer, Lego’s floor plan encourages social interaction and idea exchange between employees by including lounge areas and informal meeting zones between individual workspaces.

Zynga, the developer behind social games like FarmVille, Pioneer Trail and Mafia Wars features many playful employee perks in their San Francisco office. The workspace has chairs and tables laid out in flexible arrangements, along with food stations, and even a converted camper dubbed the ‘Zyngabago.’ The building also has a dog run on the roof.

Google designed their Zurich office to include playful features like an indoor slide, a pool table, colorful furniture, a fireman’s pole and an air hockey table to boost employee creativity. The office also houses a massage parlor/aquarium for employees looking to relieve stress.

Source: Scott Lachut | June 9, 2012 | PSFK

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