In the past, fun at work was seen as an impediment to productivity. When employees are having fun in the workplace, they are visibly not working. Many employers saw fun as something to be limited, kept out of work hours, even punished.
The human element prevails, however. People want to have a fun work environment, they strive to incorporate more fun into their lives, and they see fun as rewarding. Office fun isn’t something that needs to be relegated to certain times; incorporating fun in the workplace can be extremely beneficial to an organization.
Why It’s Important to Have Fun in the Workplace
The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is not only true, but it can slowly affect your company over time. Striking the right balance between working hard and playing hard is important for every business, and here are five main reasons why.
1. Happy Employees Are Less Likely to Miss Work
Employees that are having fun look forward to coming to work so you are less likely to see employees “play hooky” when they truly enjoy their jobs. Employees that express happiness and satisfaction with their job also tend to be healthier, which may result in fewer absences due to ailments. Fewer missed workdays can have a positive impact on the team and may even benefit the bottom line. When employees feel they are part of a fun work environment, they are more likely to want to come to work every day.
2. Office Fun Can Improve Productivity
When you think about it, it makes sense that employees that are happy are more motivated and more productive than employees that are sad, bored, or otherwise unhappy. A study done by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy confirms this, showing that participants that were happy were more productive by 12 percent, on average.
While small, fun activities for employees can take time out of the workday and decrease hours spent on measurable work, productivity may increase to account for or exceed this missed time. This can be used as a motivational tool by allowing employees to engage in fun activities at work after hitting certain goals.
3. Your Company Will Become More Attractive
Companies that treat their employees well are more attractive to job seekers and even prospective customers. People feel good about interacting with a company where employees love their job and say they have fun working. When employees genuinely express fun and enjoyment at going to work, others want to participate in that and see if they can glean the same meaningful experiences.
4. People Learn Better When Having Fun
Training exercises that are enjoyable to participants are better received and more engaging than training exercises delivered in a quiet, lecture-style setting. When learners are having fun in the workplace, information retention and processing becomes effortless. When team settings are used, learners may also form bonds with coworkers that can extend beyond training.
5. Creativity Is Fostered by Fun
Fun stimulates imagination, which can assist with adaptation, problem-solving, and other areas where creativity is needed. When employees are able to break away from the daily hum of work tasks and give their minds a rest, it can allow them to view problems with a fresher perspective. Fun office activities can provide a much-needed respite while bolstering productivity and new ideas.
How to Create More Fun in the Workplace
It‘s not as easy as it seems to introduce genuine fun into a workplace. Outings and activities that are planned can seem forced. Gamifying training and goals can be a step in the right direction to creating fun at work but may seem cheesy if they aren’t kept up to date or in line with real productivity markers.
Instead of creating mandatory “fun” events, here are some real ways you can infuse fun into the workplace.
Add Games in the Breakroom
Whether you’re considering stand-alone arcade machines or want to invest in board or card games, creating a fun environment in the breakroom benefits the entire company. Employees can relax during their mid-day mental break, have fun competing against and playing with coworkers, and enjoy a fun area that is separate from their workspace.
Schedule After-Hours Activities
Teams that bond together, work better together. If possible, the entire company — or individual teams — should try to implement team-building activities after the workday is done. This gives employees a stress-free way to enjoy each others’ company, develop and strengthen team friendships, and gives everyone a chance to spend time together without the pressure of work productivity. Plus, activities outside of work can help create a fun workplace during regular hours.
Celebrate the Wins — Big or Small
Everyone loves to celebrate accomplishments, no matter what they are for. Each team can have a small budget for parties or fun activities to celebrate the wins. Occasional parties, even for national donut day or other random holidays, create fun at work and give employees a chance to celebrate wins and just have a good time.
Encourage a Healthy Mindset
For the happiest, healthiest employees, there needs to be a healthy work/life balance and a positive attitude. Encourage your employees to focus on a growth mindset while still having fun at work. Striking this balance helps employees enjoy their time inside and outside of work and creates more fun in the workplace because people have stories to tell, trips to look forward to, and experiences to share with their team.
Implement Casual Fridays
Dress-down days are a great way to improve company morale and display employee personalities. You can start casual fridays — or random themed dress-up days — to create a fun environment at work and give employees something to look forward to. Plus, casual or dress-up days create a more relaxed atmosphere that helps everyone enjoy their workday and have fun at work.