If you’re a movie buff like I am, you’re probably familiar with the line from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” where Jack Nicholson’s character types out several pages of the same sentence:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
While the context in the movie is a bit eerie, Jack's comment is actually truer than you might think! I’ve also heard the old saying “Work is not supposed to be fun ~ that’s why it’s called WORK”. I humbly disagree ~ I believe that work should absolutely be fun! I’m not the only one that feels this way - there has been plenty of research on this topic and many of the studies found quite similar results: it’s imperative for a healthy company to have some fun.
SIX reasons FUN can (and will!) improve work quality & mental health:
- Fun increases employee retention: Happy people are a lot more fun to be around and consequently have better relationships at work: a team that plays together stays together. And consider this: When money is tight and offering financial incentives is difficult, creating a happier workplace is an easy, affordable way to reward and retain staff.
- Fun increases creativity: The right brain works best when freed up, especially during times of play. By allowing your team (YOU included, business owners!) to have some down time, you free everyone up to be more creative.
- Fun increases productivity: When you feel great in your environment, you are naturally propelled to be more actively involved ~ this means better results with the whole team! By creating a work environment that encourages fun and creativity, you will get better business results and a more engaged staff.
- Fun improves communication: People speak and act differently when playing around. By participating in some playful activities with your team, you may learn things and garner information that you might not otherwise know. That little bit of extra information can help the entire team get better results overall. Imagine the results of knowing what motivates each of your staff members to do their very best each and every day? ~ It is phenomenal!
- Fun breaks up conflict and tension: Having an office where it is okay to goof off a bit can prevent much worse down the road ~ it allows the team to blow off steam in a healthy manner, and quite often reminds us to laugh at ourselves. Likewise, happy people are more apt to find solutions to challenges rather than complain about them.
- Customers like enthusiasm! Happy, enthusiastic employees yield enthusiastic customers. Enthusiasm is infectious. People like it. A happier staff that has more fun is a staff that can sell your business to the outside world.
Still not sold on the idea?? According to Amanda Gore, CEO of “The Joy Project”, companies with happy workers have:
- 19% less sick leave (Opener Survey)
- 51% lower turnover (Gallup poll)
- 33% higher profitability (Gallup poll)
- 43% more productivity (HayGroup Survey)
- 125% less burnout (Harvard Business Review Survey)
Are you asking yourself yet, “How do I bring Fun to my office?” ~ if so, we have some ideas for you, taken from our OWN office fun…
- Decorate your workspace: If you have cubicles, encourage the staff to make their workspace reflect their personality! Make a contest of it ~ you can offer up a silly prize for the winner (think dollar store trinkets!) which keeps the expense low, and the results high. When a team feels like their workspace is their own, they are in essence, planting their roots with the company.
- Step Outside: We have weekly team meetings, and live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains A Lot! When the sunshine is out, it is a nice change of pace to hold our team meetings in the beautiful sunshine and soak up a little natural Vitamin D. And in the winter when we have snow, be wary ~ you never know if you will be chosen as the target of a snowball attack! We also hold some meetings offsite by walking to a nearby restaurant or coffee shop ~ a brief change of scenery can do a psyche good…
- Organized Play: We have been known to break up a stressful day (or a particular person that needs to “turn that frown upside down”) by throwing squishy foam balls to shift gears. Or when you have someone walk into the office with that “Gloomy Gus” face on, grab a few co-workers, some paper and a few markers and rename yourselves “Paula”, “Simon” and “Randy”. As the (American Idol) “judges”, each person gets to rate the entrance(s) as often as necessary before “Gloomy Gus” is back on the happy track and ready to start their day in a happy and positive manner. Trust me ~ it only take a maximum of 3 tries before you have the whole room (and Gus!) laughing! NOW the whole team is smiling and ready to jump into their day in a positive manner.
- Have a “Success Bell”: In our office, our success bell is a Cowbell ~ when someone in the office makes a new sale they ring a bell and everyone cheers. The team members feel accomplished as they are acknowledged for their success, which makes us all want to work a bit harder to get the opportunity to ring that cowbell!
- Involve the Family: We have several opportunities to include the team families throughout the year: karaoke at a local coffee, game night at the bowling alley, ladies night (for all the ladies, including spouses and kids). We’ve gone rafting, taken a bus down to the casinos for an afternoon, movie nights (both at personal homes as well as at the theater), cookie decorating nights with the TMC kids, etc. Pretty much anything goes! I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that a team that plays together stays together, right? ** Sidenote: I encourage you to support small businesses in your neighborhood as often as possible when planning your outings ~ small business is the cornerstone of the community!
- Celebrate the holidays: Keep in mind, here, that if you search online deep enough, every day is a holiday! Sure, you can do the Secret Santa and cookie exchanges at Christmas, or costume contests at Halloween, but what about celebrating those less obvious holidays with the team: Fun at Work Day (1/28), Get a Different Name Day (2/13), Pi Day (3/14), Pretzel Day (4/26), Dance Like a Chicken Day (5/14), Picnic Day (6/18), Joke Day (7/1), Just Because Day (8/27), Chocolate Milkshake Day (9/12), Wear Something Gaudy Day (10/17), Chicken Soup for the Soul Day (11/12) or Wear Brown Shoes Day (12/1)? Not impressed with the options? Make up your own ~ anything that keeps the fun flowing is definitely something to celebrate! When we can’t think of anything in particular, we send out the “OFFICE POTLUCK!” email and go from there!
Most people will spend one-third of their working lives at work.
If you’re not having fun at work, you should definitely start looking for ways to change that.
So the question is this: Does being productive make us happy or does being happy make us productive? The answer is, of course, yes! ~ it is a WIN/WIN, which, in my book, is the best possible answer!
So get out there and have some FUN !