There's something that Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson just doesn't get about how many of us handle our working lives.

"I've never really understood why so many people separate work and play--it's all living," Branson said in a article on Virgin.com. "We should be able to have fun at work and bring out the best in each other."

Branson went on to encourage workers to bring a bit of their personalities to the office.

"Don't be afraid to smile and talk to each other, instead of about each other," he wrote. "It's amazing what we can achieve and the fun we can have when we're all on the same team."

Branson also shared his 10 favorite quotes on how to blend fun and work. His citations go back as far as Plato ("You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation") and as recently as "Stranger Things" teen star Millie Bobby Brown ("I was bored one day, so my dad took me to this acting school. I liked it more than having fun--I liked it for an actual job").

But quotes are one thing, actually putting the practice into reality may be another. Branson takes the work-play connection so seriously that his Virgin.com site now has an entire section, "How to make play everyday," breaking down just how this can be done.

Here are three of the section's top tips:

1. Think about how you can make even a boring task fun.

This example involves the witty Virgin Trains announcements that urge bathroom-goers not to flush "gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex's sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish down this toilet."  After all, "a functional sign would have sufficed, but by adding humor to the copy and celebrity voiceovers to the (loudspeaker) announcement, they've become something of a cult hit, parodied around the world." 

2. Get up from your desk once in a while.

"Desks are a good place to write emails and drink too much coffee," Branson's site acknowledges. "They are generally a bad place to play." It was on a tea break that Virgin's Emma Martell came up with the Avocard, meaning those who couldn't get their hands on a coveted Millennial Railcard could just present an avocado instead.

3. Find yourself a workplace playmate.

The best ideas don't happen in a vacuum. Figure out who makes your ideas better, and bounce things off them as often as you can. But choose wisely. "Make sure you have an easy and natural connection" the article urges. "You should feel totally comfortable in their presence and there should be no egos. Try to be open to anything, and don't think too practically -- there will be plenty of time for that later."

Published on: Apr 12, 2018