Is there a place for fun in the workplace?

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

November 17 2015

A question I often get asked as an employer is, how important is it to make work fun, and should work be fun at all? When we think about what defines the notion of ‘fun’, what comes to mind? Playing games, joking around? Well, if we were to adopt this approach to the workplace then nothing would ever be accomplished. Having said that, working day in day out in an office where people stare at their screens, only breaking for the odd cup of coffee is not a productive way of running a business. Fun doesn’t have to include juvenile behaviour associated with the playground, but rather creating an atmosphere in the workplace that promotes innovative thinking and fresh ideas, whilst adding a sense of excitement to daily working practices. For employees, having a job is great, but more importantly, having a career within an organisation, which inspires and motivates them to work at their optimum capacity will not only pay dividends for the individual, but will also help the business prosper from increased productivity. One workplace activity, which is often in need of a facelift, are office meetings. Rather than simply sitting there listening to people talk, writing notes and generally feeling tired and uninterested, injecting some ‘fun’ into this process could make all the difference. Employers should encourage collaboration during these sessions through creative thought showers, where colleagues partner with their co-workers to devise ideas for current or forthcoming projects. It may also be worthwhile, instead of ploughing full force into a meeting, to warm-up or energise your employees by holding a discussion surrounding current events, which should help tie in what’s happening in the outside world with internal operations. Target driven incentives are also another way to make a heavy workload easier to digest. Sometimes the pressures of impending deadlines and increasing targets can become overwhelming to employees and without encouragement motivation can falter. Lost cost incentives offer a means of encouraging your staff to push through slow or stressful periods. This isn’t to say that staff should be incentivised to do their job in general, but running a scheme whereby staff get to leave an hour early or receive some shopping vouchers for reaching their targets is a great method to boost team morale and motivation. Fun is a term that can be thrown around quite loosely and without an intended meaning. When we describe a workplace as fun, what it should mean is that, organisations need to aim towards creating an atmosphere that is engaging rather than clinical. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including implementing the options above. Just remember, every organisation is different, so ensure you tailor every decision you make to fit your company’s structure and personality.

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