Work and fun didn’t always belong together but it’s essential that they do. Research has shown that there is a direct link between the fun employees have at the workplace and their productivity, innovation, creativity and customer service.
In fact, fun may be the single most important trait of an effective and successful organization in these times. But how do you make the workplace more fun?
Make your workspace enjoyable
A sterile cubicle is no fun. Update it to create a space that you will enjoy spending time in. Photos, décor accents or travel mementos are sure to put you in a good mood. A soft board with thank-you notes, cards and emails is another great idea.
Be appreciative more often
You may think that a junior team member or a co-worker has done a great job or done more than was called for but have you told him or her that? Saying it – or putting it down on email – makes a regular workday much better for that person.
Take a little break every now & then
Take a short break every hour to walk around, clear your mind and give your eyes a respite from the laptop screen. Get a coffee, say hello to the folks in the cube next door and read the bulletin board. A few exercises at the desk and your creativity and productivity may get a boost.
Find reasons to laugh
Cracking jokes all day long isn’t necessary but shed the professional demeanor once in a while to crack a smile. Share funny stories and links, or create a joke board where people can pin up cartoons or little jokes. Smiles and laughter are contagious and will make your workplace more fun.
Form some office teams
Enhance your people skills by creating an office club(s). The choices are aplenty – a cricket team, a baking club, a movie gang or a DIY crew. Connecting with colleagues in situations outside of work – while in the office – helps you bond better.
Create happiness-boosting traditions
Couples in a relationship often have “their” song or place that transports them to a happier place. Work that logic and create a happiness-boosting tradition with colleagues and team members. Will it be a weekly potluck, a walk to the neighborhood barista each afternoon or drinks on Friday evening?
Make time for surprises
In the humdrum of work, it’s important to celebrate the victories and the milestones. Apart from the obvious work-related ones, keep track of work anniversaries and birthdays. An ice-cream party or popcorn evening snack will delight the most jaded of workers.
Plan a “joy of work” hour
While you may not have fun all day every day, it’s possible to plan little batches. A town hall dedicated to the “joy of work” puts the focus on all that’s good and working well at the workplace. Take turns telling stories and giving examples; elucidate how you can make work more fun.
Plan an outing or two
There have to be some out-of-office meetings apart from the yearly offsite. If an out-of-town meet doesn’t seem possible, consider a gathering of the entire office or large teams once a year.
Let it go
Who doesn’t have a tough time disengaging from work at the end of the day? Encourage staff to leave work behind and find time for family and leisure once home. A ritual for teams like making a to-do list for the next day and pinning it on a board may help.
Research shows that the more connected and engaged you are by what you do, the more fun you’ll have doing it. But before you set out to put more fun into the workplace, define what’s fun and what’s not. Humour that’s off-color, sexual, harmful or detrimental can never be fun!