While asking your co-workers to PEA with you will likely be received poorly, it’s our top tip for the day.
As eagle-eyed readers may remember from our intro to PEA, it’s not merely an aggressive way to say the vegetable, but also stands for a Playfully Empathetic Attitude. Not only is this a surprisingly useful creative facilitation tool, but it’s also a convenient way to make sure collaboration between your team is at its best.
This doesn’t mean start an office-wide prank war – as entertaining as that would be – but to think about the feelings and thoughts of others, and to learn the kind of stuff that makes them laugh. There is a whole heap of ways that PEA will improve your office – but here are five of the best.
1. It Provokes Creativity
Few things are as useful for getting the brain going like a spot of top-class banter. It doesn’t immediately let you know how to fix that design you’ve been working on, sure – but it does get the neurons firing to come up with that perfect comeback, and this linguistic cleverness translates surprisingly well into being clever with your work, too.
Not only that, but silly little jokes tend to focus around weird and wonderful things, which is also helpful in thinking outside of the box. Think of the silly pranks Jim pulls in The Office – pranks that surely took countless nights to craft. PEA is a low-effort way to invigorate and individualise your creative profit – and if you’re real nice, maybe even get another drinking buddy from one of your workmates.
2. It Breaks Any Ice
One of the main benefits of PEA is that using it more or less instantly breaks the ice, as understanding your co-workers are just as nervous to make a good impression gets rid of some of that uncomfortable work tension.
Now, you may be working with people that you’ve known for a fair few years – but that doesn’t mean ice isn’t there. Even after an initial ice breaking session, it can easily form back over again without a friendly chat and joke now and then. Not every team are going to share their inner-most dark secrets – but maintaining a nice work atmosphere is always helpful.
3. It Brightens the Mood – and Clear the Air
Having a nice tone at work is the difference between going to your job and going to work. Given you’ll be spending most of your day around these people (or at least emailing them), it’s worth being on good terms with them.
Importantly, having this kind of pleasant relationship with your co-workers means that having to have less pleasant conversations is less uncomfortable. When people know you mean well, having to give them constructive criticism is safe, because it doesn’t look like you’ve just decided to go off on one about their work.
4. It’s Fun
All creative facilitation bonuses aside, there’s one vital side benefit – it’s, well, actually quite fun.
Although PEA can be helpful for the finer details of creative facilitation and advancement, it’s also super useful for keeping everyone happy (and sane). Even a dream job can get draining, and so having entertaining interactions with your co-workers can help you feel reenergised. Knowing that you can goof around with your co-workers here and there makes the formal aspects of work all the easier, because you can save all your professional prowess for work itself.
5. It Helps You Know Your Team
Humour is probably one of the most distinctive traits an individual person has – not to mention extremely helpful to succeeding at work. If you were given three jokes written by the people you are closest to, you’d likely know which each belonged to – if only because you know all their worst material.
With humour being such an important part of an identity, having this playful interaction with them helps you know how they work. This is incredibly practical to know – after all, a creative facilitation session based on internet jokes is going to fall flat if Barbara from finance doesn’t know what a meme is.
While keeping up a PEA may take some work at first, the benefits make it more than worth it. At absolute worst, you know you can confuse some people by talking about the importance of PEA in the next office meeting.