In our office there is a cricket bat. The desks have been arranged to ensure there is adequate space for a pitch and fielding. This must sound absurd. We are a recruitment company. Why would we or any company for that matter, need to make sure we’ve got space to play cricket, in the office, inside?
Well firstly let me clarify a few things: the ball is made of foam. Nothing ever gets smashed or damaged, and no one has come close to sustaining an injury (bruised egos aside).
Secondly, and more importantly, we play cricket, not because we’ve got nothing to do, but rather because we have so much.
There is a lot of talk about work load, work life balance, the dreaded burn out. Like most work places, we’ve got targets to reach and goals to achieve. In our office, often the only sound heard is that of keys being hit on keyboards and voices on phones. Everyone is heads down, bums up, getting things done. Now if you are a team lead or manager, this must sound like a dream. Everyone heads down, working hard... But, after a few hours, the eyes start to blurb or feel strained. The knees feel a bit stiff. The brain starts to wonder what’s for lunch. Or what’s the word again… that thing where it describes that thing? You start losing focus and a task that might normally take an hour ends up taking longer.
When this starts to happen- we get up, we get away from our desks and we play a game of cricket.
On average we will play for a max of 5 minutes. We split into two teams and while the rules are the same as the big game, there are some inclusions of office specific things, for example; you’re out if you hit a window or the ceiling.
After the match, we go straight back to work.
Now this is obviously not going to work in every office environment. Nor am I suggesting the game has to be cricket (did I mention we also have a dart board?). I used to work with software developers who would take a hacky sack break. Out they would go to play a quick round of hacky sack. The key thing is that after the game of cricket, or after the game of hacky sack, your body has gotten a chance to move around after sitting so long. Your mind gets a chance to refocus and be cleared. We all sit back down feeling alive and refreshed. That is what is important. Be it cricket, hacky sack or other, the key is the break– a mental and physical break away from your desk and your work.
Sure, you could take a break and go on Facebook- but what have you actually changed? You’re still sitting at your desk looking at your screen. Facebook doesn’t engage the brain like trying to bowl someone out or driving to catch the ball.
As an added bonus something else happens when you play cricket – you bond. Nothing units a group like a good effort in the field or your team mate bowling a stunner and you winning the game.
Sometimes it’s not about working harder, but working smarter. Feeling refreshed, refocused, a little energised, and more engaged? Now that sounds like a smarter working to me.
How do you stay focused and energised at work?
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