Skip to content

Why workplaces need playfulness

Group of office workers sit around a table pulling faces, having fun, during a meeting break

Great leaders recognise the benefits playfulness and laughter bring to a workplace.

Just as play is instrumental to children’s development, giving them the social, physical and emotional skills needed to understand how the world works and how to work in it, with others, we adults can benefit too.

Play enables us to continue to learn and create and thrive. Playing can help improve our ability to respond to uncertain scenarios, adapt to a new situation, and figure out what our next move is (without panicking).

Indeed American psychiatrist Stuart Brown, author of Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul, likens play to oxygen:

It’s all around us yet goes mostly unnoticed and unappreciated until it is missing.

Stuart Brown, National Institute of Play, USA

What laughter and playfulness bring to a workplace

  1. Laughter and playfulness help reduce stress.
  2. Laughter creates and strengthens connection with others.
  3. Laughter and joy stimulate creativity.
  4. Laughter and playfulness inspire us to view situations from new perspectives, great for problem-solving and innovative thinking.
  5. Playfulness and laughter make work happen faster. Time flies when you’re having fun.
  6. A happy workspace in which laughter and playfulness and smiles are commonplace encourages a motivated workforce.

The upshot of all this? Strong work ethic, greater morale, fewer sick days, a sense of belonging and greater productivity.

A work group laughing and looking happy  during a laughter yoga session.

Of course we don’t need to ‘play’ every single minute of the day. A little goes a long way to boost happiness and productivity, Brown says.

How laughter yoga helps in the workplace

Laughter yoga is a proven and effective way of nurturing playfulness to help morale, stress, creativity, cohesion, communication and productivity in the workplace.

Laughter yoga is a process that enables us to laugh without jokes or humour, stoking playfulness, belly laughter and calming diaphragmatic breathwork. It can be practised in-person or online. Read more about laughter yoga and its benefits.

A Laughter Yoga Australia business study with Deakin University found laughter yoga brought about measurable improvements in mood, job satisfaction, workplace wellbeing and stress among staff, some from the first session. If you’re looking at revamping a workplace wellbeing program or adding something extra to a business planning day to effectively engage and connect your team, let’s talk laughter yoga.

HeatherJoy Campbell is a certified laughter yoga teacher/trainer and global ambassador for Laughter Yoga International, based in southern Queensland, Australia. She travels throughout Queensland delivering workplace and community wellbeing workshops and trains others to be laughter yoga leaders, as well as facilitating online workplace sessions.