The discussion around employee benefits usually focuses on tangible products such as health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible schedules. But, one of the best benefits you can provide your staff isn’t a particular product.
Fun. One benefit that both your employees and bosses will love is having fun at work. Now, don’t get confused, this discussion isn’t about creating a workplace full of constant love, hugs, sprinkles, and acoustic guitar covers of rap songs.
Rather, this discussion centers on making work enjoyable for a majority of your staff, for a majority of their time at work. Not everyone is going to have fun, and not everyone is going to have a good time at all times. As the cliché goes, it’s still called work for a reason.
Having fun at work is ultimately about your culture. Your leadership and HR teams have to be responsible for creating a responsible, yet loose culture that allows your employees to have fun at work.
How do you Have More Fun
There is no one, correct answer when deciding how you can get your organization to have more fun. That being said, here are eight methods to get you started.
1. Play Games
The purpose of any game (besides winning, for all you über competitors out there) is to have fun. Games are an easy, cheap, and quick way for your office to get some fun out of work.
Ping-pong, cornhole, or board games are all examples of cheap and easy games your office could use. Your company can also attach a small prize to these games as an incentive. This incentive can get employees engaged in whichever game you choose.
2. Form Office Teams
We already know games are an excellent way to have fun at the office. So why not play games outside of the office? Get different groups of employees together to compete in various sports leagues/tournaments, or competitions.
Form a sand volleyball team in the summer. Go to movie trivia night at a local bar. If your business is large enough, you can even compete internally. Instead of joining an existing volleyball league, host your own tournament.
Get all of your employees to participate, compete, and have fun together. Not only are these events fun for your employees, but they also help build employee cohesion and teamwork.
This method doesn’t mean you should enforce a laugh quota, and force employees to laugh maniacally every hour like they are a crazed shipwreck survivor whose only friend is a tattered volleyball.
Rather, encourage your staff to be light, and enjoy their time at work. Promote a sense of humor and laughter. Show a funny clip before a presentation. Tell a joke before you ask a coworker for their help.
According to Business Insider, laughing assists in removing inhibitions. Without the burden of inhibitions, your employees (and you) are more open to new ideas, and new ways of thinking. Opening your viewpoint allows for more creative and outside-the-box ideas.
*It is worth mentioning that you should always strive to maintain professionalism, even with your jokes. If you have even an inkling that a coworker might be offended by a joke, DO NOT REPEAT THAT JOKE.
4. Decorate the Place
Spruce up that drab cubicle with some pictures of family and friends. Paint over those tragic, beige walls. The ultimate goal is to make your workplace somewhere that your employees enjoy being.
Encourage your staff to personalize their particular workspaces. You want your employees to feel comfortable and enjoy the place they have to spend eight hours, every day.
Ultimately, your office should be a stimulating place. You want your employees, recruits, and even clients, to walk away thinking your workplace is exciting and fun.
5. Work it Out
Get off of that chair, or Swiss ball if your one of those people. Get your employees together and get them moving. At least once a day, encourage your employees to join you for a short workout. Again, if you want to encourage participation, incentivize these fitness challenges.
Similarly, you can give your staff fitness trackers and allow them to monitor their health and physical activity. Or host a series of presentations about healthy living. Obviously, on a basic human level, you want your employees to be healthy.
But healthy employees also assist your business. According to Business Insider, more than 13 million working days are lost every year due to stress-related illness. Healthy employees, on average, are more engaged and more productive.
6. Leave the Office
Although it may be counterintuitive, get your staff out of the office and having fun. Join a sports league, go out for happy hour, or host a backyard barbecue. Socialize as a group, outside of your workplace.
Going out together and having fun is a great way to form relationships, and strengthen work teams. When you get to know your colleagues on a personal level, you can communicate better, which improves team effectiveness.
Celebrate birthdays and holidays with parties. Celebrations are great excuses for your staff to come together and have fun. Celebrating an employee’s birthday is especially impactful because it lets that employee know your company cares about them.
When celebrating holidays though, it is important to ensure you do not offend any of your employees. As a business, you cannot force any team members to celebrate if it goes against one of their religious or cultural beliefs.
8. Celebrate Success
Raises, bonuses, and promotions are all standard methods of recognizing individual and group, work achievements. Still when your office has success, even if it is a small success, celebrate it.
Throw a party; you don’t have to spend a ton of money, just get your staff together and get people having fun. When you celebrate success, your employees can feel good about the progress your company is making.
These celebrations reward staff for their hard work, while simultaneously improving employee buy-in. Celebrating wins shows your workers that your firm is making progress. It can also highlight the importance of each person’s role in your company’s success.
Likewise, employees get to celebrate with your company as a whole. Celebrating success creates an association between individual and company-wide success. This alignment helps to boost employee satisfaction and engagement.
Why Having Fun at Work Matters
Chances are that if you march into your boss’s office and tell him/her that your workplace needs to have more fun, he or she will give you one of these looks:
On the surface having fun on the job may seem like a bit of an oxymoron. Businesses (at least for-profit ones) are designed to make money; everything else is secondary. And on a surface level, it might seem like a fun office should be the farthest thing from your leadership teams’ minds.
Still, if you dig a little deeper, your company could stand to gain a lot by just encouraging your employees to have more fun. A fun office can boost employee:
Anyone (who’s not Eeyore), will enjoy having fun at work. It’s truly your company that could benefit the most. A 700-person experiment conducted by the Social Market Foundation demonstrated these potential benefits.
Individuals after being shown a random 10-minute comedy clip, or given snacks and drinks, showed an average increase in productivity of between 12 and 20 percent.
Having fun at work is about creating a comfortable workplace that your employees actively enjoy going to on most days. A culture of fun can have a direct, positive, impact on your company’s bottom line.
So, if you don’t want to see your employees run (to a competitor) make sure they have fun.