It’s good to goof off at work. 

That’s the message from a growing number of companies that are letting employees mix a little more play time with their work time. For example:

  • YouTube’s headquarters in California features an indoor putting green, and a two-story slide that workers can use any time.

  • At Twitter, workers have access to an office climbing wall and free yoga classes.

  • And at other companies, workers can enjoy everything from team bike rides during lunch hour to video game breaks, office foosball tournaments and even weekly happy hours, with free drinks!

I know a lot of this sounds like the opposite of working. But many experts say a little play time on the job is good for productivity. The thinking is that play encourages employees to interact which fosters more teamwork, boosts morale, and leads to better quality work.

Plus, some of the best new ideas come from random interactions that emphasize fun and creativity! And managers have found that today’s workers – especially younger workers – tend to stick around longer in places that are “fun” to work at.

In fact, people seem to work longer hours - and get more done - when they know they can take short breaks each day, to rest their mind playing a game with a co-worker, before starting a new task.

But know this: Experts say the key to making work “fun” is for the boss to get involved. Because in today’s economy, employees don’t want to look unproductive. So, even if their company offers a ping-pong table in the break room, they won’t feel comfortable playing until they see management playing a game or two because that sends the message that, yes, it’s okay to play at work!