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LOCAL STORIES

March 18, 2024 at 9:39:10 PM

Yes, I think you should Play at Work

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Unleashing Creativity and Joy in the Modern Workplace

Published on:

March 18, 2024 at 9:39:10 PM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.

Featuring

Acey Holmes

Founder/CEO/Play Advocate

BoredLess

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

I founded BoredLess with the mission to transform the traditional work environment by infusing it with elements of Play and creativity because I believe adults deserve to Play, especially at work. Work can be more than just a daily routine; it can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience that ignites innovation and joy.

BoredLess offers consulting services and tools aimed at helping organizations rethink their workspace and culture. The approach is centered around key pillars of playful work design: flexibility and autonomy, mission-driven work, psychological safety, and inclusion. By fostering an environment where individuals have control over their work, aligning roles with the broader goals of the organization, creating a space where creative risks are welcomed, and ensuring that diverse perspectives are respected and incorporated, I aim to transform work into an activity that employees look forward to every day.

The core idea is that when work is designed with these principles in mind, it leads to a significant increase in employee engagement, satisfaction, and, subsequently, the overall performance of the organization. The transformations I've witnessed in various companies serve as a testament to the potential of this approach, and I am committed to sharing these strategies with more organizations to redefine the meaning of work.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

I was a speech language pathologist for a decade and a teacher of the deaf before that; I literally played for a living - on the floors with little kids. About five years ago, I experienced severe burnout as a result of the play being only client-directed -- I wasn't playing enough in my own work. I decided to take control and create a professional life for myself that allowed for my personal play identity (intellectual/whimsical) to shine in ways it never had before and it's been absolutely glorious.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a teacher. I don't remember wanting to be an entrepreneur, but I know when I was in elementary school, I was constantly getting in trouble for selling paper/pencil pinwheels in the middle of class.

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

There wasn't really a direct line childhood dream you classically hear of. And where will I be in ten years? WHO KNOWS! There's no way that ten years ago me would have ever guessed I'd be a public speaker and workshop facilitator like I am today. I love the openness of opportunity for the future.

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

Just as my childhood didn't seem to direct a line to where I am today, I don't have just one pivotal person. So many people over the course of my various careers have impacted me like raindrops in a pond.

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

I think the impact of so many people has resulted in me being very open to talking with all sorts of people on any given day whether it be listening and sharing my insights with them or vice versa. Hearing from diverse experiences allows me to understand and empathize with a wide variety of individuals and groups and allows me to tailor my work to them specifically with ease.

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

I believe adults deserve to Play, especially at work. Play has the potential to allow us to live up to our maximum potential in a sustainable, healthy, and joyful way. Society has kept us far removed from Play for far too long, it's my mission to change that.

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

BoredLess offers a suite of consulting services and tools specifically designed to transform traditional workspaces into dynamic, playful, and engaging environments. The core of our offerings lies in personalized workshops, assessment tools, and strategic consulting that align with the key pillars of playful work design: flexibility/autonomy, mission-driven work, psychological safety, and inclusion.

**Personalized Workshops**: These are tailored to the unique needs of each organization, focusing on interactive exercises that encourage creativity, collaboration, and open communication. Participants learn how to integrate elements of play into their daily tasks, fostering an environment where innovation is not just encouraged but becomes a natural outcome of their work.

**Assessment Tools**: BoredLess provides diagnostic tools that help organizations gauge their current work environment in terms of psychological safety, inclusivity, alignment with organizational mission, and the level of autonomy provided to employees. These assessments offer valuable insights and serve as a baseline to measure progress.

**Strategic Consulting**: Beyond workshops and assessments, BoredLess works closely with organizational leaders to develop and implement comprehensive strategies that promote a playful and inclusive work culture. This might include redesigning workspace layouts to encourage collaboration, revising policies to increase flexibility, or crafting initiatives that align employees' work with the organization's mission.

What sets BoredLess apart from competitors is the emphasis on a holistic transformation of the work environment. While others may focus on singular aspects such as team-building activities or workspace design, BoredLess addresses the underlying cultural and structural factors that influence how work is perceived and performed. The approach is not about superficial changes but about embedding playfulness and creativity into the very fabric of organizational life, ensuring these changes are sustainable and deeply integrated into the company's ethos. This comprehensive, research-backed methodology not only enhances employee engagement and satisfaction but also drives significant improvements in organizational performance and innovation.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

My workshops are very unique. They are wildly educational - we explore the neuroscience of Play and flow, but they are also incredibly engaging and interactive while simultaneously being introvert and neurodivergent friendly. Participants often positively report they've never attended a workshop like it!

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

Customers typically discover BoredLess through a variety of channels that align with our playful and innovative approach. These include engaging social media campaigns that showcase the transformative power of integrating Play into work, insightful blog posts and articles that explore the science and philosophy behind playful work design, and dynamic speaking engagements at industry conferences and events. I also leverage a strong word-of-mouth network, built from the success stories and testimonials of organizations that have experienced significant transformations after working with me.

Once customers are intrigued by the idea of reimagining their work environment, the next steps involve a deeper exploration of their specific needs and challenges. This is typically facilitated through an initial consultation, where we discuss their goals, assess their current workplace culture, and identify areas for improvement. From there, we propose a customized plan that may include a combination of our services, such as personalized workshops, assessment tools, and strategic consulting, tailored to address their unique situation.

The customer journey with BoredLess is designed to be immersive, collaborative, and, most importantly, transformative. I want my clients to not only see but feel the change as their work environment evolves. This journey involves several key experiences:

Discovery and Insight: We start by uncovering the hidden potentials and pain points within their organization, fostering a deep understanding of what makes their workplace unique and where opportunities for playful integration lie.

Co-Creation and Engagement: Customers are actively involved in the co-creation of solutions. Through workshops and strategy sessions, they engage with their teams in new and creative ways, breaking down barriers and building a collective vision for their future work environment.

Implementation and Transformation: As new strategies and practices are implemented, customers begin to see shifts in their organizational culture. Workspaces become more dynamic, communication flows more freely, and a sense of joy and creativity permeates their daily operations.

Reflection and Growth: The journey doesn't end with implementation. We encourage ongoing reflection and adaptation, ensuring that the changes made are sustainable and continue to evolve with the organization's needs.

Throughout this journey, the experience we aim to provide is one of empowerment, creativity, and joy. I want my clients to rediscover the excitement and wonder in their work, to see their workplace not just as a site of labor but as a canvas for innovation and growth. Ultimately, the goal is for customers to emerge from their journey with BoredLess not only with a transformed work environment but with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility in what they do.

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

One story that stands out and truly resonates with me is a woman who shared her experience after a Personal Play Identity session. She articulated beautifully how easy it is to get caught up in the routine and monotony of work, losing sight of the essential role that "Play" can play in our daily successes and performance. Her reflections after our two-hour session highlighted not just the joy and engagement that Play brought into the workspace but also the tangible impact on productivity and team success.

She described how, through the session, the participants were not only introduced to the concept of Play in the workplace but were also shown the science behind it—the way it affects our hormones and endorphins, and how this seemingly subtle shift can significantly amplify our capacity to perform and succeed. The session wasn't just about theory; it was hands-on and immersive. With fidget toys, inspirational stickers, and evidence-based data delivered in an engaging manner, she reported that I transformed the mundane into something stimulating and entertaining. This transformation is precisely the journey I aim for all my clients to experience.

The impact of this session was profound not only on her but also on me as facilitator. It reinforced the importance of my mission and the real, measurable difference that introducing playPinto the workplace can make. It's moments like these—where I get to witness the transformation in people's attitudes towards work and see them rediscover joy and engagement in their roles—that remind us of the value of what I do at BoredLess. It's about more than just having fun; it's about unlocking a team's full potential by redefining the very nature of work.

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know? 

I never wanted to be a public speaker. I used to get full body shaky nervous before even answering a question in class, even if I was 110% certain my answer with right. Now, I've completed multiple public speaking engagements including two DisruptHR talks (and another scheduled for May) and a TEDx!

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

When customers or clients work with me at BoredLess, I want them to walk away with a sense of rejuvenation and a newfound perspective on the role of work in their lives.
I want clients to feel empowered with tools and strategies to weave Play and creativity into their daily work routines, transforming their work environment into a space that fosters innovation and engagement.

Inspiration: My goal is for clients to feel inspired by the possibilities that open up when they integrate the principles of flexibility, autonomy, psychological safety, and inclusion into their work culture. I hope this inspiration turns into actionable change that drives their organization forward.

Connectedness: I strive for our clients to feel a deeper sense of connection with their colleagues. Through shared playful experiences and open communication, I aim to strengthen team bonds and enhance collaboration.

Joy and Satisfaction: Ultimately, I want clients to rediscover the joy in their work. By shifting the work paradigm to one that values Play and creativity, I aim for clients to achieve a higher level of job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

Resilience and Adaptability: Through my workshops and consulting, I aim to equip clients with the ability to navigate change with resilience and adaptability, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation.

Purpose and Alignment: I want clients to leave with a clear sense of purpose and alignment, both personally and organizationally, understanding how their work contributes to the broader mission and how it can be a source of personal growth and development.

The experience of working with BoredLess is designed to be transformative, not just in terms of immediate work practices but in fostering a long-lasting culture shift that makes work an engaging, fulfilling, and playful part of life.

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

You can join my email newsletter https://www.playfulworkdesign.com/email-subscription and you can also explore my website and socials! https://www.playfulworkdesign.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/aceym https://www.instagram.com/beboredless I love to connect with new people!

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

Thank YOU!

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