The Pilot Experiment takes place at LEGO Group’s London hub, investigates the impact of play in the workplace
To mark LEGO PLAY DAY, a first of its kind pilot experiment investigates the impact of play in the workplace. The experiment took place at the LEGO Group’s London hub, ahead of today’s company-wide LEGO PLAY DAY – an annual event where all the company employees take time away for one day to play together and have fun.
In collaboration with researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London, the LEGO Group measured the effect of different kinds of play on the physical, social, cognitive, creative and emotional skills of five participant volunteers from a variety of roles in the LEGO Group London office took part in the experiment.
Data was collected over three days; two of which were spent working as normal, with one day of play in between. Participants wore a biometrics device which measured their Cardiac Vagal Tone (CVT), a measure of exertion versus recovery, which determines mood and fatigue. In addition, the five employees self-reported their skills using a chatbot throughout the three days.
LEGO Group Chief People Officer, Loren I. Shuster, said, “We fundamentally believe play helps children develop life-long creative, cognitive, social, physical and emotional skills. As a company that inspires children through play, we strive to make every day at work more playful and fun. It’s why we also have LEGO PLAY DAY, which aims to reconnect all our colleagues with our purpose and values.
“We carried out this unique pilot study to gain an initial insight into the impact of play in the workplace. We strongly believe that adding a bit of play into the workday can help nurture our innate curiosity and desire to learn, which comes naturally to children.”
Participants self-reported higher levels of competencies in all five skills areas when playing compared to typical work activities and exhibited lower average CVT scores at these times, indicating increased engagement and exhilaration.
Four of the five participants also registered higher average CVT scores on the workday following play activities, than the one before, which offers preliminary evidence that play has potential for residual benefits in workers, as they achieved higher levels of calm and wellbeing than before the play activity day.
Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, Chris Brauer, and pilot study lead, said: “Whilst this represents a research method in its infancy, testing a small sample size, we have learned that the introduction of bespoke, relevant play activities could boost both engagement and employee wellbeing.
“Ahead of the pilot, we conducted personality tests on each participant and found that an individual worker’s personality, goals and competencies in the five skills strongly affected the impact of the play interventions. Therefore, activities that are more bespoke to an individual or team’s unique character traits might prove even more effective for workplace productivity and performance.”
The preliminary findings underline the LEGO Group’s view that play forms an essential part of life, from developing the five foundational skills in childhood to harnessing these as an adult. Today’s LEGO PLAY DAY celebrates this philosophy and encourages employees to embrace a creative and playful approach to their work.
“Learning and being playful does not stop when you grow up. To be truly successful you need to be a life-long learner and retain your child-like curiosity, your open mind and your sense of wonder,” added Loren I. Shuster.