You know the old saying about all work and no play makes us all really dull people?
Does your organization have a culture of play at work? Of course when you are gainfully employed, you are expected to show up, work hard, and meet/exceed the expectations of your employer. Unfortunately in my own personal experience, I have never read a job description that included having fun as part of my position. I have encountered many organizations that had “fun events” where we had the opportunity to engage in some sort of entertaining activity. These were well-orchestrated events that typically took a certain degree of planning and preparation.
Why does fun at work have to be planned? Doesn’t it take some of the fun out of it when you are told that you are allowed to have “fun time” between 3:00-5:00PM on the first Friday of the month? Some may argue that they have a business to run and there is no room for goofing off. I would agree that it is very important to ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and takes care to project the professional image of your organization. However, I would challenge you to consider how incorporating fun into the workplace serves more than one purpose. It is not an open invitation to prevent your employees from getting the job done. We all like to laugh and something fun can bring people together, relieve stress, and can also help your employees recharge their creative juices.
A great example of this idea was demonstrated by my husband. He installed a small child’s basketball hoop outside of his office. At first, people weren’t quite sure what to make of this – most just passed by and ignored it. Eventually, as people would stop by to see my husband, he would toss them the small beach ball and shoot hoops with them, all the while discussing issues, problems, challenges, or nothing in particular. In some cases, he uses a quick game to help defuse an angry or over-stressed employee, and has found that it is a great way to modify the mind-set they may be stuck in at that moment. A little friendly competition has helped him bridge the gap between different groups of people.
In some instances, leaders may find it difficult to relate to their employees, as they may have very different life experiences. Think about the idea of fun, regardless of who you are or where you come from; everyone likes to laugh and have a good time.
When was the last time you had fun at work?