You pull up to your regular parking space at work. What’s the first thought that crosses your mind as you shut the car door behind you and make your way to the office? Is the stress already starting to build? Is there a little lump of dread growing in your stomach? Do you get a little rush of happiness at the thought of the fun you’re about to have?
That last scenario is unfortunately not the norm at most companies, and it’s probably hurting employee performance.
Why Creating a Fun Environment is Beneficial for Businesses
Too often business owners and managers think that all work and no play is the best way to maximize productivity. It’s a good thing that researchers don’t automatically prescribe to this notion.
Studies over the last two decades have revealed when workplaces make fun a factor it creates happier employees that feel more satisfied. And happy employees are all around better at their jobs. Workplace fun has been linked to:
- Enhanced motivation
- Increased productivity
- Reduced stress
- Higher job satisfaction
- Improved task performance
Having fun is one way of effectively managing and improving employees’ emotions. It’s also proven to improve teamwork, build trusting relationships and increase employee retention.
There are a lot of equipment and machines in an office but employees are not among them. As humans, we are social creatures that need a little fun to cope with the daily stressors that we face. At the end of the day it’s all about ONE Thing– the company culture that you want to create, and more importantly, that people want to work in.
Easy Ways to Create a Fun Workplace
If the management team has been a stick in the mud about having fun at work it’s time to turn things around. The five ideas below are a good jumping off point for creating a culture that incorporates fun.
Super Casual Friday
Take casual Friday beyond getting to wear jeans to work. Incorporate an added sweetener like a company provided, in-office lunch break or a beverage hour at 4pm. Not only is this creating a more relaxing environment, but it also encourages interaction between colleagues, which is proven to boost happiness.
Friendly Competitions . . . With Prizes!
It’s amazing how a little friendly competition lightens the mood. Coming up with weekly or monthly challenges that employees can participate in is a fun motivator. Sweeten the pot with an award for the winner(s), and people will really enjoy coming to work.
Create Your Own Fun-Loving Social Network
There are a few providers that give you the tools to set up your own internal social networks. They are meant to help employees collaborate on projects, but they can also provide a fun outlet. Yammer is one such service that could be used to set up a social network where employees can post funny things they find online. Anytime an employee needs a little comedic relief they can hop on to see the latest posts. Just make sure to set parameters and stress that any offensive material is unacceptable.
Take Time to Celebrate Wins
Create milestones that the whole company can celebrate together. Better yet, start an initiative to set aside a small percentage of the profits for employee parties and events. Employees will work harder knowing that they’ll be rewarded for their efforts and acknowledged for their contributions. Not sure what type of celebration appeals to your employees? Go a step further toward improving motivation by letting them choose the events.
Celebrate Fun at Work Day
Instead of working on Fun at Work Day make it a time for everyone to come in and have fun. Plan out a whole day of team building games, movies and pet projects. Have lunch catered and keep snacks on hand – well-fed people are happy people. Some managers may look at this as wasting a day of work, but in the end the boost in productivity levels will more than make up for it.