Faculty of Engineering, LTH

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Samuel West

More play at work

Samuel West is a clinical psychologist & PhD in organizational psychology

The philosopher Wittgenstein understood the importance of play: “If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” So - yes we need more play at work! A playful work climate leads to increased creativity and well-being in the workplace. The hottest buzzword in organizational psychology right now is Psychological Safety, which has been shown to be the most important factor for high performing innovative teams - could play possibly be a way to achieve this?

What is the main prerequisite for a sustainable and healthy working environment?

− A playful working environment is the most important factor. Play embraces joy, dedication and a strong sense of psychological safety. Particularly psychological safety has turned out to be extremely important for job satisfaction and productive teamwork.

What does joy at work mean to you?

− That the line between leisure and work gets blurred. Being able to leave behind the mental straitjacket of industrialism that Henry Ford summed up so well: "When we are at work we ought to be at work. When we are at play we ought to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two. The sole object ought to be to get the work done and to get paid for it. When the work is done, then the play can come, but not before. - Henry Ford

Tell us about an exciting or unique experience from your working life

− I have tried many different jobs this past year. Every month I’ve tried some new ones. For every new job, a short film has been made for AFA insurance to bring attention to research on work environment and safety. As a pencil pusher, it’s been very interesting to experience working as a captain, night worker, preschool teacher, carpenter, pipe fitter, cook, cleaner, work at a tire shop, etc.

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