11 December 2020 Fun Working is something to be taken seriously – 5 “Fun Working” rules
In these last few months, you may have smiled when you saw children in need of attention invading their parents’ desks while they were engaged in quite serious discussions during video calls. One of the most viewed and shared videos on the net was the live interview with Professor Robert Kelly, broadcasted by the BBC. In this video you see the expert’s children bursting into the room and being frantically led back out of the room by their mother while the professor tried to answer the questions he was being asked, halfway between embarrassed and amused. Besides triggering the hilarity of the spectators, this event aroused also a few adverse reactions: according to some people, a less detached and more affectionate attitude towards both his children and his wife would have been more appropriate. Like many other videos shared on social media, this episode provides us with an interesting stimulus to reflect on the redefinition of professionalism and the increasingly blurred boundary between private life and work. Even if we will not stay in smart working forever, even if we will not always have children at home while we work, these situations will be increasingly frequent, hence this issue is certainly worth being investigated.
First of all, it is important to have a clear idea of what smart working means. Agile working, also improperly called smart working, has been defined in the Italian law as “a manner of performance of the employment contract agreed upon between the two parties, also arranged in phases, cycles and according to specific objectives, that may involve the absence of a rigid work schedule or work place limitations and the use of high-tech devices and tools.
As a consequence of the pandemic, homes have become the quintessential workplaces where people pursue their profession. For smart working to be effectively smart, it is therefore necessary to take into consideration the needs of all the inhabitants of a home and especially of those who take fun more seriously than work, i.e. children and grandchildren, for example. We should consider our children and grandchildren’s desire to be close to us, to have us participate in their very serious games shall be considered. In fact, playing is the favorite activity of children, but it is often neglected by parents: many underestimate the importance of sharing this activity with their children, i.e. a unique opportunity to get to know each other and strengthen bonds and complicity. In fact, the presence of a child’s mother and/or father allows the child to express his/her emotions, to know himself/herself and to develop imagination and creativity in a safe atmosphere, protected by the adult, whom he/she trusts blindly.
How can we ensure that the seriousness of play is not sacrificed for the seriousness of work? They seem incompatible needs and methods, however, smart working can be an incredible resource to promote the union of these two opposite needs. How? By transforming work into something which is much more than smart. By transforming work into something FUN!
Here are 5 rules to better support smart and fun working, which we have conceived revising in our own way many considerations that have been made on this subject:
- Explain the situation to your children: make them feel part is the best way to reassure them and allow them to live the new everyday life in a serene and peaceful way;
- Inform your colleagues and customers of possible interruptions: you are not the only one to experience this situation, so understanding is almost certain;
- set up a “smart work” area: having a workstation of your own will allow you to work without interruptions;
- set up a “fun work” area, i.e. an area that, unlike the previous one, allows you to work while sharing the place with your children and give yourself breaks to spend time with them;
- learn to understand when to be smart and when to be fun.
Moreover, fun working from home offers you the unparalleled opportunity to observe your children and how they prefer to spend their time: a company that deals with entertainment can only draw important and certainly stimulating considerations to develop new ideas and projects, perhaps imagining new spaces where play and work can coexist.
From this point of view, Lego is one of the best examples. At the end of the 90s the company was experiencing a serious crisis, and to better understand the tastes of children, it asked some ethnographic experts to observe them while playing. The data collected was used to change Lego’s corporate strategy and to bring bricks back among the games most coveted by children, and not only. Thanks to this research, in fact, Lego also managed to conquer a new target, adults, thus considerably expanding its core audience. This is not, after all, a practice totally unknown to Zamperla’s modus operandi: Alberto Zamperla recalls that intuitions about the development of new rides came from the moments he used to spend playing with his sons, Antonio and Alessandro, and while observing their games.
Try and look for the fun side of your smart working: even if you may not be enlightened by any brilliant idea, you will certainly discover a different way to better enjoy your time at home!
The Strategy Innovation Team