Productivity needs play

Given that innovation is practically a mantra for CEOs globally and that countless studies have laid out the conditions for creating it, you’d think workplaces would be operating a little differently from a decade or so ago.

The literature is overflowing with cries for agility, decentralized networks, collaborative architecture or cultures that enable creativity through play.

Yet few organizations walk their talk, demanding innovation while pinning people to desks and archaic behaviours that confer credibility simply because they are familiar.

Companies continue to worry about absenteeism rather than the far more concerning trend of what Harvard Business Review’s Paul Hemp calls presenteeism – where workers turn up without really being there, and which is far more costly than paid sick leave.

Why do we still measure inputs rather than outputs, promote head-down-bum-up cultures that drive outcomes from A to B when we know that quantum leaps result from more haphazard associations?

We have entrenched views on what a serious workplace looks like. And despite studies that suggest serious is not synonymous with productive, many of us cling to old ideas rather than pushing against them. But push we should.

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