“Doctors and drug dealers used to be the only ones that had to be accessible 24/7. Now it’s everyone,” said Gary Ware. A Lemon Grove resident and founder of Breakthrough Play, is proposing to help promote play, and help end the building stress of always being accessible via our cell plus more stressors and he intends to do this especially on National Fun at Work Day, Jan. 28, 2018.

But what is this National Fun at Work Day? Allegedly no one knows who created it, but it is claimed that management embraces it because it allows workers to have a few minutes of fun in the hopes of increasing productivity and creating a non-toxic workplace. It officially is on Jan, 28 each year and has been around for four to five years. Memes like “Let’s settle this like adults—rock, paper, scissors” and more abound about the spirit of this day.

“I went to Mount Miguel,” said Ware, “I live in Lemon Grove, but I do work all around San Diego.” That work is an outgrowth of his company, Breakthrough Play. A company that is founded on the principle of building fun breaks into the workplace.

Gary Ware has clients that include the San Diego Padres’ sales team, Kaiser Permanente, Electra Bicycle Company and many more. He gives presentations and workshops locally, nationally, and internationally.

“He was a speaker at our international conference,” said Stephanie Wheeler with Boundless, “He energized 150 people. He got people to discuss topics.”

“A big buzzword now is ‘psychological safety’ – successful teams have psychological safety,” he said. Ware says he meets with management and human resource departments to learn what their needs are. Be it reigniting creativity or developing more communication between co-workers.

Ware introduces “play” time using balls adding, “There are stats that show throwing a ball gives permission to have fun. Then I have very specific games that are designed to accomplish the needs the company might have. There are no one-size-fits all.”

“I will meet with them (human resources or management) ahead of time to discuss the dynamics of what they want to learn or what obstacles they want to overcome” said Ware.

Ware is also a member of the Finest City Improv group that currently performs at San Diego’s Lafayette Hotel. “I wanted to take skills I learned (from improv) and use them,” Ware explained. As a speaker, fun inducer, and workshop leader those improv skills are valuable and needed.

Since the #metoo movement employees are in need to feel psychological safety and be able to share their stories that might be work place related. But his National Fun at Work schedule will be filled with workshops tailored to confirm the need for fun at work.

One female manager, according to Ware after one of his play workshops, said, “Wow, I just realized I’m a micro manager and need to work on that.”

In person recess, corporate workshops, speaking engagements, and executive 1-on-1 coaching are the current mainstays of Breakthrough Play. Ware has also added retreats, or Come Play With Me events, with one such retreat, titled 1st Inaugural Playscape Retreat, scheduled March 4-10, in Nicaragua. Visit: www.breakthroughplay.com/training/ to learn about more workplace fun.

Originally Posted on The East County Californian