This year Friday, January 29th is designated as “Fun @ Work Day”. This unofficial day of merriment is celebrated on the last Friday in January each year.
Why Fun @ Work?
The origin of Fun @ Work Day is unknown and unrecorded. What is known is that every workplace, regardless of industry sector, location or activity benefits when their people have fun at work. Recognizing the value of making fun at work an annual celebration will hopefully provide companies with the proof and an incentive to make fun at work a daily occurrence!
Time flies when you’re having fun.
Happy Work, Happy Life
For the vast majority of us, we spend a good chunk of our lives working at something. Our work may be full time, part time or seasonal. When we enjoy our work, it is easier to get up in the morning and look forward to the day. Meaningful, satisfying and enjoyable work adds to our overall ability to have a happy life. So, doesn’t it make total sense to make it happen?
Life’s too short to be miserable 5 days a week.
What is Fun @ Work?
According to Bob Pike, author of The Fun Minute Manager, a fun work environment is one in which formal and informal activities occur regularly. For obvious reasons we would choose or design those activities around making the effort to uplift people’s spirits and remind people of their value – to management, the company and each other.
While looking to find fun things to do at work, let the imagination be the leader. Choose whatever fun and exciting things will be appreciated by all – and don’t forget the boss!
Fun and happiness are very contagious.
The Company’s Role in the Fun
For employees to truly enjoy their work the support of their company is not just important, it is actually required. Often, this support is already built into a company culture and/or retention strategy.
Creating a corporate culture that says – “this is a great place to work!” is something that begins at the top and is followed all the way down to the front line. Imagine a work world where people love their work environment, they are calm, stress-free and happy all day long. These people are in good spirits with a mental attitude that produces increased oxygen, endorphins, and blood flow to the brain. They are more relaxed, more accepting of each other, and more likely to share a sense of humor. What would you call this? I’d say Fun @ Work.
Embrace fun as the chosen tone in your workplace.
Get to the Happy Place where it is Fun @ Work
At the very high level, one great method to get to the Happy Place can begin with employee initiative. This happens when people are motivated and driven by activities supported by the company. When people are having fun, they’re going to work harder, stay longer and maintain their composure in a crisis.
When one thinks of Fun @ Work, what is the very first thing that comes to mind? It may be about making sure that boring, tedious, monotonous or excruciatingly painful activities and behaviors are minimized and not the focus.
“A fun work environment allows you to express yourself freely in an appropriate way that generates a feeling of comfort and association among fellow employees.”
~Fabian De Rozario, Donaghey Student Center, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Hard Cold Facts about Fun @ Work
Research has shown that people who enjoy their work will also enjoy tremendous personal benefits. Additionally, they contribute at a significantly higher levels and experience much greater job satisfaction.
Fun has been described as being a great creative engine. Creative and talented people are much more attracted to fun workplaces. Surveys show that managers who are perceived as fun have a better reputation, personal prestige and experience increased loyalty in their people.
According to research conducted and published in the book “301 Ways to Have Fun at Work,” there is a direct link between the extent to which employees have fun and the success of a business. Some of the most significant outcomes of having fun in the workplace include:
- Boosts employee morale and contributes to a positive staff culture
- Employee retention strategy – increases employee loyalty and lowers employer turnover
- Significant reduction on cost of hiring and training
- Higher levels of team spirit, motivation and camaraderie among members
- Greater job satisfaction with lower levels of absenteeism
- Closer relationships between leaders, managers and employees
- Produce more creative problem solvers with more innovation within the job role
- Increase in Customer Service levels
- Less fear of change
- Lower tension, enhanced overall performance and a rise in productivity
Making Fun @ Work a core business principle = increased revenues, less downtime, business continuity and enhanced profits.
Fun @ Work – In Action
Enlightened corporations have discovered that an environment that incorporates frequent, enjoyable breaks in routine while fostering a climate of collegiality have developed definite advantages over their competitors. These successful organizations add a healthy dose of play into their daily and/or weekly routines.
Promoting fun at work through organized events, social committees, annual outings, team building activities, recognizing birthdays and work anniversaries have paved their way to happy and healthy corporate cultures.
In a study called the “Effects of Workplace Fun on Employee Behaviors,” it was found that people tend to rate socializing the highest out of all fun-related activities. Another justification for building an effective company social framework.
Applied zaniness has a solid psychological grounding in the workplace.
Start Building Fun @ Work
What 3 simple things can begin the change towards more fun in the company?
- Redefine company culture – the manner in which a company operates is a definite reflection of its culture. Focus on creating an atmosphere where employees can feel comfortable, express themselves, and collaborate with others. Fun incentives can work towards modifying a culture. The truly great places to work are the ones that value their culture above pretty much all else.
- Understand what employees want – Each and every member of staff is bound to have certain interests or passions and many will cross over. Understanding and acknowledging peoples’ passions can bring the workforce together and help develop a social plan.
- Strive to make any monotonous activities more appealing – Aside from the usual day to day job responsibilities, employees may find competitions, cross-training, new product demonstrations, lunch & learns and other organized group activities to be energizing and fun.
As much as 90% of our enjoyment at work is determined by the relationships we have with our co-workers.
There will always be challenges, tough, difficult and long days in every business. It is how the company deals with these days that makes the difference. Praise, acknowledgement, recognition, a smile and a light-hearted comment can make all the difference. Making the effort to lift and create the spirit of “espirit de corps” is what will overcome work that is not always fun.