Original Research

A play-at-work intervention: What are the benefits?

Liana Fourie, Crizelle Els, Leon T. de Beer
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 23, No 1 | a2815 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v23i1.2815 | © 2020 Liana Fourie, Crizelle Els, Leon T. de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2018 | Published: 27 May 2020

About the author(s)

Liana Fourie, Work Well Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Crizelle Els, Work Well Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Leon T. de Beer, Work Well Research Unit, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Organisations are investing time and resources in implementing play at work. However, the possible effect of play at work as an organisational intervention is largely unknown.

Aim: This study aimed to determine the effect of a play-at-work intervention on psychological detachment, work enjoyment, employee performance, and workplace boredom of work teams.

Setting: The sample consisted of 26 telemarketing employees in the Northwest Province, South Africa.

Methods: A longitudinal, three-wave intervention study design was followed. The sample consisted of two work teams from a telesales company divided into the experimental group (n = 9) and the control group (n = 17). A play-atwork intervention consisting of different single-player and multi-player games was developed. Surveys were used to collect data prior to introducing the intervention, after one week of play, and again after the second week of the intervention.

Results: The results indicated that the play-at-work intervention positively influenced employees’ psychological detachment during their lunch break. Team performance also increased when the play-at-work intervention was introduced.

Conclusion: Employees who participates in play during their breaks will be more likely to psychologically detach compared to other employees. Also, organisations who implement play will have higher team performance compared to others.


Keywords

play-at-work intervention; psychological detachment; work enjoyment; team performance; workplace boredom.

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