By Phil White – regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses – London
You read a lot these days about the important function play, rather than work, has in nurturing creativity and increasing concentration levels at events. It seems today, the old proverb – ‘all work and no play made jack a very dull boy’ – is very much back in fashion.
Who could deny that as event professionals, we have a responsibility to help our clients ensure delegates understand more and think better? Author and psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Brown, MD believes play is the answer. He states that “When employees have the opportunity to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale. Not only does having a playful atmosphere attract young talent, but experts say play at work can boost creativity and productivity in people of all ages. There is good evidence that if you allow employees to engage in something they want to do, (which) is playful, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation.”
Essentially, when learning is fun, employees are more likely to remember information and, not just take in what they learned, but actually use it.
At Jockey Club, we’ve found that enabling clients to incorporate play into events is a powerful way to increase productivity at events. As the racing season approaches, we are once again looking at how attending a racing fixture or event as part of a meeting or conference, offers delegates a chance to let off steam, stretch their creative legs, unwind and refresh their thinking.
When incorporating ‘play’ into your event, it’s important to think about the event’s agenda, and consider where a period of fun, relaxation and play fits. Delegates tend to arrive prepared to concentrate, so it can work well to load the serious elements of your agenda into the first part of your day, then break for a leisure activity, such as attending the races, before bringing them back for creativity based afternoon sessions.
If your event objectives require a full day of formal sessions, including an evening element, such as racing, followed by dinner and music, rather than just having them head home, gives delegates a chance to discuss the salient points of your business message and develop their own thoughts, while they unwind in a relaxing and enjoyable environment.