Take a deep breath and think about the last time you had fun at work. I am not talking about the times you find your work enjoyable, rewarding, fulfilling, etc. I am talking about a really good time with a group of people (coworkers, volunteers, constituents) that was full of lots of laughter. Having fun in our lives is necessary. And yes, part of our life is work. Having fun at work is important and has many benefits for both employees and the organization.
There are numerous studies that have been done and books written about how fun in the work place increases productivity, innovation, better decision making, and team work. Those studies also show that organizations that are fun have fewer absences and lower turnover.
I found on WorkplaceIssues.com a list of six reasons fun can improve work quality and mental health. I think these reasons sum up the importance of why we need to have fun in the workplace.
1. Fun breaks up boredom and fatigue
2. Fun fulfills human social needs
3. Fun increases creativity and willingness to help
4. Fun fulfills the need for mastery and control
5. Fun improves communication
6. Fun breaks up conflict and tension
Now I know some of you are thinking, “Erin, I just want to come in do my job, go home at the end of the day and receive a paycheck on a regular basis.” I completely understand and I have those days as well. But, think about what your day would be like if there was some fun and you were still getting paid…
- What if you were happier? Would you treat others differently?
- Wouldn’t the day pass more quickly?
- Would the creative juices flow more easily?
- You may begin to see health benefits: lower stress, lower blood pressure, less anxiety?
Now that we know there are benefits to having fun at work, let me provide you with some suggestions on ways to have fun that are low cost. If you don’t like my suggestions, I encourage you to Google “Fun at Work” for more ideas.
- Create a playground in the office: have a common area where everyone can go to “play”. You can stock the area with puzzles, craft projects, toys such as Lego’s, jacks, playing cards, etc.
- Have a “Lunch time, Fun time” once a month. Show a comedy movie, allow employees to perform a comedic act, have departments put on a skit. Of course any of these activities need to be done in good taste so not to offend anyone.
- “Theme Days” – Did you ever have theme days in grade school? At my son’s school they have “Crazy Hat Day”, “Wacky Dress Day”, “Pajama Day”; you get the idea. Pick a day/week/month and have everyone participate in a theme. It can be as simple as “Shorts Day” every Friday if you have a more formal dress code.
I can’t forget the most important part which is to allow yourself and others to have fun in the workplace. Encourage others to step away from their desks and cut loose every now and then.
I encourage you to have fun at work! It will make the place you spend more than one-third of your day more enjoyable.
What ways does your human resources department encourage fun in your workplace?