Imagine how surprised your staff will be when you call an impromptu meeting, but instead of hearing the usual speech about how “we need to push harder to hit our goals,” they find that it’s friendly competition time! If you don’t have a ping pong table or foosball game in your building, a board room or break room table will do for this tip.
A few decks of cards and a speed round of War will get the creative juices flowing as well as help everyone step away from the daily grind. Yahtzee is fun as well as Crazy Eights, dominoes or Go Fish which are also quick and easy options that anyone can play.
Not surprisingly, a study from 2017 found that “Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. ‘Aha moments’ came more often to those who took breaks. Taking regular breaks raises workers’ level of engagement which, in turn, is highly correlated with productivity.”
Taking breaks at work is not only good for your brain, it is also good for you physically. Constant sitting can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. It also obstructs your blood circulation, which can lead to joint and muscle pain and other health concerns. And despite what our “go go go” mentality about work tells us, stepping away from your desk for 5 - 10 minutes every hour or two doesn’t negatively impact productivity, it actually increases it!
One way that you can encourage your team to take the occasional quick break is to set up card and game station in your area. Lead by example and round everyone on your team up every once in a while for a rousing game of 21 or Uno or a quick round of checkers or chess. Take it a step further and create a scoreboard to keep track of the results and generate some friendly competition.
This week, I challenge you to buy a variety of card and board games the next time you’re at the store. Ask around to those on your team to see if they have any favorites for suggestions. You can get a deck of playing cards or a puzzle for $1 at your local discount store. Board games are a bit more expensive, but the camaraderie built and laughter shared among your team will be well worth the investment.
FUN FACT: The history of a group of card games known as Solitaire dates back to the mid-18th century. Internationally, the game of solitaire has many names. It is often called "Patience," especially in Britain. In France, the game is sometimes called "Success" (reussite). Other languages, such as Danish, Norwegian and Polish often use the word "Kabal" or "Kabala" (secret knowledge) to describe these games. This goes back to the early origins of solitaire where the outcome of a game may have been thought to be a type of fortune telling.