Having fun at work might at first sound counterintuitive. Work is exactly that, work. It is your job and you do it to the best of your ability and save the fun for your personal time. However, fun in the workplace can be defined a little differently, and if you offer people the opportunity to enjoy their work, it can lead to greater overall business success.
Fun can be an activity that brings pleasure, amusement and enjoyment. People say that they enjoy music, food, activities and social events, so these are some of the avenues that lead to fun.
Productivity means achieving or producing a significant amount of work. This work is expected to meet with quality standards and be produced on a regular and consistent basis.
When these two understandings are combined, it is easier to invent ways that you can have fun at work and increase productivity.
Ways to Have Fun at Work
Sharing food is a great way for people to interact, especially those from different departments who might not often have reason to meet or talk with one another. Having a regular casual morning tea that brings people together is a social activity that encourages bonding, greater communication and deeper understanding of how departments rely on each other.
Whether you provide the cost of ingredients and ask people to make something to share, or pay for a catered service, sharing a casual break each month gives employees something to look forward to and helps to remove barriers developed by hierarchy.
Providing a games room or break space that has electronic games, cards, jigsaw puzzles, anything that encourages people to take a break in a neutral space can be a huge stress reliever.
If you have people in high-stress positions where the tension between colleagues can run high, having a games room where people can vent over a computer game competition can be a great way for employees to see each other as equals.
Filter It Out
The switch to online meetings has opened the door to whole new worlds of fun. Before your next online meeting, ask people to choose their favorite filter or background for the meeting. It’s a great way to ease into the more complex and sometimes dreary aspects of meetings.
Doing this can help put people at ease, which allows them to then better focus on the tasks at hand. Even if you limit the fun to five minutes then ask people to switch to neutral backgrounds and images, you’ll have had a moment to collect your thoughts, bond as a team and share a laugh.
Depending on your office environment, you could have an anonymous appreciation tag that is passed around the office each month. For example, each staff member draws a name from a hat. The employee must then say in one word what they appreciate about that person’s work ethic or productivity. They write this on a piece of paper and this is then placed on the person’s desk at random.
So Jane draws Sam. She writes that Sam is ‘dedicated’. Jane then places this tag on Sam’s desk when he is away from his station. This is especially nice if someone is having a tough day. Keeping it anonymous is a way of ensuring that the team bonds as a whole, and maybe even have some fun trying to guess who their tag came from.
Give your employees who have to share space headphones. This way Sam can listen to Celine Deon while Jane moshes to Metallica. For many people, music is the motivation they need to make it through the day. By listening to the music that you enjoy you feel inspired to work, be creative or focus.
Don’t ask employees to listen to the same music. It isn’t fair that Michael Buble gets high rotation because Larry says so. If the music is in a common work area, have a roster of tunes so that people can look forward to their day of music appreciation.
Work retreats or group classes are a great way to bond and develop useful workplace skills. From first-aid courses to mediation classes, there are thousands of ways to invite learning into your workplace.
People working together are usually going to make some connections. Rather than being frightened by staff interactions, encourage the bonding by supporting events that they conceive.
If a department or group want to create a trivia team, or cricket team or even a chess club, let your employees know that they have the support of the business. Offer sponsorship if you can, or support people with the flexibility they need to attend matches. It’s a great way to support your employees and build a workforce that is confident and connected.
One of the most important ways to make your workplace fun is to provide meaning for the work your employees do. Thank them, help them to see their contribution and show your appreciation on a regular basis – be that pizza and beer night every Friday or an annual get together that blows their minds, letting your team know how much you appreciate them helps make their work fun.
It is important that you provide a workplace that values fun. Strong bonds lead to good communication. Motivated employees produce higher quality work. Engaged employees stay with companies that respect and nurture them. Keeping productive employees means lower costs for your business and greater success with consistency and constancy as your foundations. The value of a quality employee who is a happy employee cannot be underestimated and is easily achieved by shifting your culture to an inclusive and supportive environment that recognises why joy matters.