We recently launched our Play Around Policy. The policy exists because play is one of the founding principles of Studio123. We need to foster play and welcome it as a source of creativity, productivity, and joy. This time is allotted in an effort to promote wellbeing, and provide a healthy and more balanced workplace. The policy is meant to give time back to our team members so they may take time for themselves, and just have some fun while shifting their mindset in how they approach work.

Our play around time is booked bi-weekly in our collective team calendar and alternates between Wednesday morning sessions and Friday afternoon sessions. So far, the results have been amazing! There’s something special about hitting the skatepark, playing video games, or doing some gardening when you’d normally be sitting at your desk. It almost feels like skipping school (which we know nothing about).

Studio123 employees benefit from a (fully paid) 3.5 hour Play Around session every two weeks. The Play Around session is reserved for absolutely any activity that will bring some sort of benefit or joy to an employee. You can really do anything including visit friends and family, play video games, learn a new skill, go for a hike, watch a film, socialize with colleagues, collaborate on a project, read a book, meditate, etcetera. In case it’s not clear, you can do literally anything you want.

Employees may partake in any activity they so desire, but it is strongly encouraged that employees share their experience with the broader team, and what kind of impact it had on them. We’ve got the #playaround Slack channel going, and you better believe it’s buzzin'!

Here are some highlights from our team’s Play Around sessions:

Brigitte started messing around with Milanote to help her plan her bathroom renovation. Brig used the web app to dump ideas, collect pictures, organize checklists, and save links all in one spot. After Brig shared how she was playing around in Milanote, it piqued Mel’s curiosity and she also started using the app for personal use, declaring it a game changer.

As Rob would say, “free time doesn’t come around too often for Dads” so he made the most of his morning with a lengthy list of joy-inducing activities including hiking with dogs, running to the garbage dump and grabbing coffee with Dad, tidying up garage, mowing lawn, walking with dogs again, and sharing lunch with his wife.

Eric cleaned his house while Undercover Boss played in the background. He may or may not have gotten emotional near the end of each episode.

Nico started working on a little gang-like logo for a skate-related project before heading out on a hunt for fresh-picked blueberry salespeople. Unfortunately, his hunt was not fruitful.

Mel has definitely been making the most of her Play Around sessions. She managed to squish a baby’s face AND hang some beautiful cabinets in her camper.

Reagan messed around learning some code-based 3D stuff in the browser. The floating bananas are my personal favourite: See it all here!

Cody mowed his lawn, then played some Sound Voltex and beat his first 15 difficulty song! After that, he went to Kako's Kitchen with his partner for a ramen and mochi lunch.

Christian spent some time getting ahead on some Up Here related stuff, including conducting interviews for their very first full-time employee. How exciting is that!

Brando took a rip in the Golf and found a killer view.

Although these moments of play are made to feel special, bring joy and improve overall mental health, they also have a profound effect on the work we do for our clients. We’ve found that our team works with more intention, focus and energy, specifically in the days leading up to, and after our play around sessions. Happier people are more productive people.

Like our manifesto says, Play Around. Experiment. Tinker. Break things. Laugh. If you’re not enjoying yourself, what the hell’s the point?

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