How to make work fun for your employees? After all, there should be fun in the hard stuff we do each and every day, right?
In 1968 a television producer asked herself a generational ‘point-of-no-return’ question. That question was: “What if we took learning for children and we made learning tastes more like ice cream than spinach.”
The answer to that question is a show that is still here today called Sesame Street. It revolutionized children’s programming but more importantly, Sesame Street made learning fun.
That was the birth of an expectation that there should be fun in the hard stuff we do.
How to Make Work Fun?
In 1993 I graduated from Arizona State University and I got a good job with a company called Quaker Oats. Most of you have heard of this company. In 1993 we were in the middle of the recession and my peers were struggling to find jobs. I found a good-paying job and it was a great opportunity. A month into it, my dad, who is a baby boomer, asked me how do I like my job. I didn’t because it wasn’t fun. In fact, it wasn’t fun at all. My dad said that work is not supposed to be fun!
Why is Fun at Work Important
An audience member recently said to me that if work was supposed to be fun, we’d call it fun, not work.
We spend ninety thousand hours of our life at work. One-third of our life is spent at work, so why shouldn’t we have fun?
In fact, Millennials are the largest generation in the workplace today. People born after 1980, and Millennials, more than any other generation have really integrated the work life and their personal life together. They understand that with technology you’re set to work all the time, so it’s not like when we’re done with work then we’ll have fun. Work doesn’t stop, so it only makes sense that we should have fun at work. Majority of Millennials when surveyed said that they would take 60% less in their paycheck to work at a job they love versus a job they find boring.
Benefits of Having Fun at Work
When you’re having fun, you’re not bored. When your organization allows you to have fun, when leaders create a fun workplace, it has been shown that there’s an increase in the level of employee trust. There’s an increase in creative inspiration and there’s improved communication and connectivity between not just employees and their managers, but also coworkers.
A ‘Great Place to Work Institute’ surveyed employees that work for organizations listed on Fortune 100’s top places to work and found that over 80 percent said their company is a fun place to be.
Fun at Work Ideas
So having fun pays and we’re going to discuss a few things that you can do to have fun at work.
My favorite as food is always fun. Alright, food people want to eat. You can do something like an interoffice beverage break or an off-site lunch.
I have a client that every Friday they have what’s called ‘food truck Fridays’ and they bring in a local food truck to serve lunch to everybody in the office.
2. Inner Office Social
There’s a service called Yammer that can set up an interoffice social network that allows employees not only to communicate and collaborate but also post things that they find online that are humorous. Videos, stories, cartoons etc. You may have to depend on your team, set some parameters about what’s acceptable and what’s not, but the nice thing about an interoffice social network is that it allows people to jump on real quick and just get a kind of a tickle of their funny bone.
3. Volunteer Time Off
Especially when this can be combined with coworkers we call the millennial generation. The giving generation, because they are one of the top generations that are giving not only their time but money to charitable organizations. According to Deloitte volunteer impact research, they found that Millennials prefer to work for organizations that allow them to coordinate volunteering with their work time.
4. Decorate the Workplace
This may sound kind of silly, but when people are allowed to decorate their workspace not only engages their creativity but also increases the way people emotionally feel connected to the workplace.
A company that is really good at this is Zappos.com. It’s an online shoe retailer. If you ever go downtown Las Vegas, take a tour of their headquarters.
Sometimes we forget just to say thank you to our co-workers and the people that helped us be successful. Every day saying thank you and remembering small details about people’s lives is not only important but shows a token of kindness that goes a long way!