Working in the office can become a stiff task, especially within a creative environment. We need something to get those creative juices flowing. The simple answer is a slightly sweaty game of ping pong. Yes, ping pong.
Typically to an older generation, the idea of hammering a ping pong ball across a table back and forth in a working environment may seem juvenile, disruptive or down right rude. Now that we are almost two decades into the 21st century, ping pong has almost become synonymous with start-up companies and in general young modern companies. It all simply boils down to introducing a stress reliever/work motivator hybrid. Yes, it is a simple and inanimate object. Yet a very effective inanimate object. The ping pong table exists in the office lending itself a purpose; to inject life and emotions into a human whom is not physically built to be sitting in front of a bright screen 8 hours a day.
I wanted to write about the common misconceptions associated with playing a game mid working day, attempting to break down those stagnant barriers surrounding the idea of having a ping pong table in the office. However, I found a plethora of articles by renowned neuroscientists and psychologists with Ph.D’s and other glittery accolades arriving at the same conclusion; that it is an excellent tool to help stimulate and develop the body & mind thus resulting in an upbeat and healthy work morale. I’m sure we can all agree that this can attract a happy lifestyle and from my personal experience, I couldn’t agree more.
Names like Dr Wendy Suzuki Ph. D and Dr Daniel Amen (a renowned member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology) both summed it up in these points:-
- Increases alertness & concentration
- Stimulates brain function
- Develops tactical thinking skills
- Allows for team building and better work relationships
The ping pong table allows for social opportunities and is often a great ice breaker. Stereotypically we can say goodbye to the quiet new kid in the office – instead, enter the Potently Powerful Ping Pong Prodigy Patrick! It is a great way to help introduce yourself to new people in the office, easily breaking down awkward social barriers – and the best thing about it? It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it or not. It’s always a good laugh trying to teach someone how to hit a ball!
More seriously however, after an hour-long lunch break eating food and drinking fizzy soft drinks for example, blood-sugar level drops which leads to feeling fatigued. Sluggishness and sleepiness can find its way through the keyboard, onto your vitally-important-end-of-year-financial-report followed by a haze of confusion as your boss is spitting a variety of unpleasant words unfortunately beginning with P... Messy.
But, research suggests that after a 20-minute game with a tickle of competitive spirit, brain functionality increases and rational thinking is applied more. This all lends itself to developing strategical thinking within the workplace thus helping your company collaborate with fellow employees better, and ultimately, delivering quality results. Who’d have thought the ping pong table acts as such a great treatment?
Ethically speaking 20-minutes during work hours may already sound like a short lunch-break and really should only be played during a normal lunch-break. But even a five-minute game to 11 points can help deliver the same feeling. Not only that, but checking your surroundings to make sure you aren’t disturbing anyone is key. It can get rather loud and some words may be exchanged in a certain, natural manner.
Ping pong tables are also a great companion for the older employee – common feedback tells us they feel young again - springing energy into their work and even enjoying their job more. Dad, take note.
So, by introducing scientifically backed figures and adding professional opinions makes the ping pong table all-the-more welcoming in the office. Whether it is trying to beat your mates at work or taking a 5-minute break from the desk and computer. All-in-all it helps develop brain functions, gets you up and about but more importantly, it brings people together in an easy and upbeat fashion.
Words by Adam Markiewicz