Fun at work, sounds weird huh? It has grown as in the mindset of employees that these two words, fun and work, are by nature contradictory. And i wouldn’t blame them! For traditional work environments often make work seem like the place where you are forced to go daily, for at least 8 hours, and for the sole purpose of having something done and getting paid for it. How dull does that sound?!
And it isn’t so. There is much more to work than a 9 to 5. Work by nature is supposed to be something that you perform to benefit yourself, benefit others, and that you enjoy. Whoaaa is that really what work is supposed to be? Even though the definition of work as found on meriam-webster is “sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result”, yet this doesn’t prevent it from being fun, or at least from having fun at work.
Ever since I was in the domain of Human Resources and management, I used to sit down with employees, discuss with them their jobs, how satisfied they are, what is bothering them, and highlight that if you are not happy at work, you should seek to change that. If you fail, you shouldn’t be doing what you’re currently doing. Maybe you need a change of post within the same company, a change of company, or a career change.
How companies promote fun at work?
Now to jump to the key topic, even if your job is stressful to the extremes, you should still be enjoying it, and this can be done by having fun at work at the same time. Top companies have understood this and already aim to allow employees the means of enjoying work and keeping it away from being this “forced-to-do-act”, and these companies are ranked among the top employers. To see a short highlight about what these employers are doing, according to a listing by CNN MoneyÂ for the “top 100 employers for the year 2011”, we highlight the top 5 and what they do:
- SAS: a software company which succeeds at getting the number one of the list due to keeping its employees happy, motivating, and having fun at work. “on-site healthcare, high quality childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and more — itâ€™s all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison”. And in the words of a manager who works there: “People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people donâ€™t leave SAS because they feel regarded — seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason.”
- Boston Consulting Group: a consulting group that was able to hire the most of its recruits in 2010. With its high pay and commitment to social work was able to rank number two. Through its Social Impact Practice Network (SIPN) BCG provides employees with the potential to work with the U.N. World Food Program and Save the Children. It also provided on-the-ground support in Haiti throughout the post earthquake situation by pulling off its consultants from client projects.
- Wegmans Food Markets: a supermarket chain with that often provides its staff with fun activities and challenges, such asÂ eating five fruits and vegetablesÂ cups per day, and walking daily up to 10,000 steps for eight weeks, reached rank number three.
- Google: The so-common name bound to fun at work. Â Ranking at number four for activities such as free food at any of its numerous cafeterias, free laundry, climbing wall, pets allowed at work, and peer spot awards of 175$ that employees can award each other.
- NetApp: Â The data storage company, in addition to high pays and bonuses, and hiring hundreds of employees last year, creates a nice environment with TuesdayÂ free fruit, Fridays free bagels and cream cheese, and all the timeÂ free espresso.
How can you have fun ?
Even though we always advise companies to implement fun measures at work, you as an employee don’t need to rely on the company to enjoy work, you can put your own touch into it. You need to consider ways at which you will be able to come up with your own version fun at work. Some of our suggestions would be:
- Lighten up: Do not take things too seriously, do not take yourself too seriously. Your co-workers are NOT your enemy. Enjoy working with them, throw a joke every once in a while, give a funny comment (not mocking your colleagues..which can cause bad effects) about some accident or instance that happened with you or others.
- Take short breaks: Yes short breaks do improve productivity, and help you get out of your stress. Sit down with your colleagues (coffee break or cigarette break) during these breaks, talk about things aside from work, plan activities…
- Listen to music: Music can freshen up your mood, and give you a boost to better perform work while being happy. Pick out a listing of your favorite songs or music and play them during your work (headset on, don’t annoy your colleagues), and change this playlist every now and then so that you don’t get bored.
- Share fun things: you received a funny email, a nice joke, some entertaining news, share it with your colleagues and enjoy the fun spirit. Having fun with others will promote your happiness at work. Of course do not overdo this and disturb your colleagues.
- Plan social activities with colleagues: plan during a weekday to have fun with your colleagues practicing some group hobby, you will be looking forward to this activity and it will lighten up your day. Whether it’s basketball, football, or whatever hobby, try to make it a weekly schedule.
- Put fun gadgets on your desk: These gadgets will entertain you and your visitors, whether it’s a funny toy, a funny picture, or weird gadget, or even a small aquarium (if your desk fits and your company allows), these things will certainly freshen you and your colleagues up.
Photo Credit byÂ nataliej