Monica Scalf, author and certified stress management coach, founded The Playground Group as a result of her own stress-filled work environment as a professor. She created her company to help people return to those stress-free days of childhood — only now in your cubicle or corner office.
As a writing professor at Xavier University, Monica Scalf was no stranger to stress. Despite having a beautiful family and successful career, she was still always stressed. She began researching stress management and how she could apply it in her life. “Once I realized that the info was allowing me to be more productive, less stressed, more energized and more comfortable with who I am as a person, I knew I wanted to share it with others,” Scalf explains. “I started a blog called The Ordinary Matters to share some of my discoveries, and shortly after that, I developed The Playground Group as a way to offer productivity, personal branding and stress management training to organizations of all sizes.”
The Playground Group provides workshops and other tutorials encouraging businesses and individuals to explore alternative ways of working while still accomplishing their expectations of success. The main focus of The Playground Group is something they call the “TPG formula.” This formula was created by their company and includes three areas that are vital to your success while in a stressful work environment: smart +savvy +supported= success.
The TPG formula was created shortly after Scalf began the business and workshops, as her first few clients didn’t clearly understand what she was trying to accomplish. “I think they thought I was going to teach deep breathing or yoga or something,” she says. “While those things are great, our workshops focus more on how to set up personal systems so that you can make the most of and enjoy the life and the job you have.”
Scalf knew what she taught went far beyond stress management. “It’s more like life management,” she explains. “It’s the stuff they don’t teach you in school.” As she thought about all of the successful people she knew and had worked with, she realized they all had three things in common: they were able to get a lot of things done, they were personable and pulled together, and they were able to control stress.
“I knew I wanted to convey to potential clients that we could help them and their employees achieve these three critical components of success,” she says. “The best way to convey it was by reducing this big idea into a simple formula: smart + savvy + supported = success.”
The “smart” aspect refers to a person’s productivity during their workday. The Playground Group teaches that you must be smart in choosing what you do while in the office. By prioritizing your tasks for the day in a smart manner, you’re more likely to make better decisions and reach your goals. “Savvy” is the second key ingredient to a successful work environment. Scalf says that adding the savvy component to your image, it’ll allow your employee or company to shine above other competitors seeking the same success. Lastly, The Playground Group underscores their last key ingredient – “support” – as everyone needs support during stressful times.
The Playground Group provides several tips for how to run a stress-free work environment. “That way,” Scalf says, “more things get done in a fun and relaxed environment, while still continuing to bring the company’s success.”
After being in operation for only two years, The Playground Group is proving to be a huge success. They work with a variety of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit organizations. “We’re a bit different than the typical professional development workshop. Participants enjoy our workshops because they get uninterrupted time to work on and develop themselves,” Scalf says. “In our fast-paced world, it’s rare that individuals get a chance to reflect and develop a plan for gaining skills that will lead to more opportunities and an even better life. These are skills they can use for life.”
Skills garnered at The Playground Group are also useful after the clock strikes five o’clock “Our workshops are the playground where adults can figure out how to adopt new thinking and learn new skills to be more efficient and more energized,” Scalf says, “so they can be better players in the game of life, at home and at work.”
Courtesy of The Playground Group