Why we take play seriously and so should you

By katie simpson on August 29, 2014

At GoCanvas, we take fun pretty seriously. Even at the office, our days often look like this:

That’s right: beer in the fridge, nerf gun battles, and even some retro video games happen. We take play and unwinding pretty seriously here. Why? Because play, and relaxing actually makes us more productive, more creative, and better at problem solving

More than just unwinding at work, it’s important to have work life balance. Studies dating back to the early 20th century have found time and again that people get more done in 40 hour work weeks than those who work 60 hours or more. Working too much leads to burnout. 

So in honor of Labor Day, here are five ways that we relax and play after hours:

Paper, Pen, and a Cold Beer

Our graphic designer, Lynn, is an artist through and through. She even made this awesome chalk design for the office:

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Chalk art. Drawing, doodling, art at work.

Lynn creates awesome designs, online and off.

So when she gets home, it may not be surprising that she opens up a notebook and starts drawing, anything in front of her. With a cold Blue Moon in one hand, and a pencil in another. Studies show that artistic hobbies improve observation and problem solving skills and reduces stress

You don’t need to be a professional artist: just bring out a piece of paper and start doodling. You just may find that ten minutes of drawing is better than a second beer. 

Break a sweat

Devon, our Vice President of Channel Sales & Business Development goes in a totally different route. After work you’ll find him out at his favorite place to unwind: the gym. He loves working out, from lifting mind boggling weights, to racing friends. One of his favorite activities is racing sleds. Which look a lot like this:

As a company, we’ve got tons of active folks. Nick, our office manager loves to go for runs outside. Melanie, one of our mobile app consultants, prefers to play tennis. James, one of our developpers, is a huge fan of CrossFIt. After work, you’ll often find me doing an hour of fast paced yoga.

Not only does exercise get you up and moving, it’s a great stress reliever. For just 15 minutes a day, it can add on 3 years to your life. Talk about a huge ROI!

Unwind with music

Bobby, our Senior Technical Designer is our main music man. He’s been to many of the major music festivals including Bonnaroo and Firefly. It’s no wonder that when he leaves work he turns on great music. His main unwinding music right now is BoomBox. 

Science also shows that listening to music is great for stress relief. Scientists found that it reduces our stress hormone levels while distracting us. Nice two for one deal! 

Get outside with loved ones

Jasmeen, our project manager (aka Development Team Wrangler) not only gets offline, she goes outside. With a 3 year old and an 11 month old, as well as two dogs, she loves taking the whole gang on walks. Not only do they take up the whole sidewalk, but they get to spend quality time together outside. 

Spending time outdoors is great for your health physically and mentally. Studies have shown the time outdoors helps you get

  • Vitamn D
  • Improve mood
  • Improve concentration

Plus? You can even get some exercise in, and let your kids get some of their energy out too. 

Creative and social time

Dean, one of our Mobile App Consultants, loves playing instruments. The banjo, and guitar are just two of the many he’s picked up over the years. After work, you can often find him with friends playing music, often Americana or Bluegrass covers of all sorts of songs. 

Spending time with friends, in general, is great for your health. Large friend groups correlate to longer life spans, help people fight cancer, and reduce stress leves. The larger your support network, the more benefits you will enjoy.

This Labor Day, take a break. Turn off the computer and mute your phone. Maybe you’ll doodle like Lynn, or take a walk with your kids.  If you’re in DC, come on by to the Capitol and listen to some free live music. Whatever you do, have some fun. It’ll make your return to work on Tuesday even better.

How do you unwind after work? Leave a comment and let us know!