2019 word of the year – Play

playBack in 2017, while watching a YouTube video on bullet journaling, I was inspired to coin a ‘word of the year’ that would set the tone for everything I do. Just as Pantone’s color of the year inspires my color palate, the word would inspire everything I do. My 2018 word of the year was ‘Intent’ and true to the theme, I did try to spend as much time as I could living with intent. I also began practicing mindfulness almost every day. Like with everything in life, there was ample scope for improvement but it was a good start.

The past few days I’ve been ambling about searching for my ‘2019 word of the year’ and fortunately, stumbled upon this post by my fellow blogger. One quick read and I’d found my word for the year.

2019 is the year for playfulness. It is the year of embracing the light-hearted spirit of a child – the inquisitiveness, curiosity, sense of experimentation and fearlessness. It is the year of not taking anything far too seriously and keeping my spirit from being dampened when things don’t work out.

There’s good reason for the HR community to embrace ‘Play’ as it’s word of the year too.

I began the year with a business offsite where I convinced the leadership team to adopt ‘play’ as the team’s word of the year. We agreed to begin and end the year with a playful experimental spirit. We spent hours discussing ‘experiments of the month’ and ‘experience wikis’. Managers enthusiastically talked about how they’d launch tiny experiments every month. ‘Experiments of the month’ would revolve around a theme and would comprise of either month long activities (e.g. every code would come with unit testing) or multiple activities within the theme (e.g., a theme of workplace design could involve activities like personalize your desk, sit at someone else’s desk for a day etc.). At the close of the month, employees would then be encouraged to catalogue their experiences and learning in a wiki page allowing the team to double down on what worked and what didn’t. This ‘experience wiki’ would help leverage collective experiences.

Wouldn’t it be great if HR pros could do the same? What if we made play a part of everyday work?

We might just end up creating a workplace that signifies happiness, laughter, joy, high productivity and innovative solutions. Who wouldn’t want that?

What is your 2019 word of the year?


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