What Is The Fun Tightrope? Balancing Fun at Work

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Fun TightropeFun at work is serious business. Too little fun and you risk employee disengagement and organisational culture crisis. Too much fun and you risk trivialising your team’s work experience and making them uncomfortable. Finding the right balance is difficult, but get it right and you’ll have a utopian organisational culture on your hands! Fun boosts morale, strengthens work relationships and can increase productivity by up to 43%. 

Take Google, for example. They walk the fun tightrope like pros. Their office’s include  hammocks, fireman’s poles, slides, LEGO rooms and they even use 1960s caravans as meeting rooms. Considering Google’s 2017 turnover was 109.65 billion dollars, we’re guessing the ‘funconventional’ furnishings were worth the risk.

Why Do We Need Fun At Work?

Having fun releases of a cocktail of chemical messengers in the brain. These make you a happier and healthier person.

This means that if you associate your job with fun, you’ll be happier. Perhaps that’s why people who enjoy their job take less sick leave. Unhappy employees take an average of 15 days of sick leave each year. This means that unhappiness at work is expensive.

Creating fun at work is an investment. In fact, the stock price of Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ increased by 14% per year between 1998 to 2005. The rest of the market couldn’t keep pace, growing by just 6%.

Even with all these reasons to make work fun, managers are afraid to mix business with pleasure. Here are three of the most widespread myths that stop managers taking the plunge and adding a dollop of fun to their workplace:

Myth 1: It’s Unprofessional

We often associate fun with unprofessional behaviour. This is a mistake. In reality, unprofessional behaviour is when staff act outside your company’s code of conduct. What’s unprofessional in one workplace, could well be encouraged in another. Even the most traditional company can introduce fun into their culture. The trick is to make sure the fun you introduce reflects your company’s values.

Staff want to know that they will be at ease in their place of work. Your values help ensure they feel at home.

Myth 2: It Will Hurt ProductivityA row of three question marks, they are in different colours.

Like all the best things in life, having fun requires an investment of your time. It’s because of this that many people see fun at work as time-consuming. Many managers have tunnel-vision for productivity and anything that looks like time-wasting is a no-go.

The exact same thing is true of the relaxed culture that having fun can at work can encourage. Many people see a relaxed culture and think that staff won’t bring their A-game. Again, the assumption is that it will hurt productivity.

But, on both counts the absolute opposite is true. Employees are 12% more productive when happy at work. Happy staff also outperform their competition by 20%! There isn’t any relationship between having fun and an unproductive workforce.

Myth 3: People Don’t Like Being Told to Have Fun

People don’t like being told to have fun. After all, one of the most enjoyable things about fun is the spontaneity! Add tight deadlines and an important meeting into the mix, and sometimes you just aren’t in the right frame of mind for having fun.

Fun shouldn’t ever be compulsory. Especially not in the workplace. Adding fun as part of a worker’s monthly objectives would be entirely counter-productive. It would lose its essence. Instead of forcing people to have fun, make them want to. If fun is irresistible and flexible enough to work around busy schedules, no one in their right-mind will turn down the chance to enjoy themselves.

Fun at Work Starter Pack

Many people want to introduce more fun into their workplace. They just don’t know where to start. Here’s our handy-hint filled starter pack that will turbocharge fun at work today:

1: Take a Vote:Clipboard and pen

Adam enjoys indoor relay races. Sarah’s keen on the Xbox. Daniel appreciates a good pop quiz. Everybody’s different. But don’t despair! You can use the survey functionality on your LMS to get a cross-section of what everyone enjoys and shape your strategy accordingly.

2: Ask the following questions:

  • Is it optional?
  • Does it build positive relationships?
  • Does it offer incentives or prizes?
  • Does it reflect your company’s values?
  • Have you asked people and are they interested?

3: Some Inspiration

There are hundreds of fun ideas to entertain your office! Here are some of our favourites:

  • Office Meals/Drinks: Ensure that once a month, employees let loose in a local bar or go for a team meal.
  • Guess Who: Have your team place their baby photos on a pinboard and let the guessing fun commence!
  • Fancy Dress Days: Check out what National Days are coming up and use that as inspiration for fancy dress.
  • Support Charities: If you can have fun and a charity benefits it’s a win-win!
  • Quizzes: Quizzes are a simple way to have fun that almost everyone enjoys.
  • Celebrate: Everyone loves to celebrate, so find a reason to party! Whether it’s the end of the financial year, a colleague’s work anniversary or you’ve just landed a big client, don’t be afraid to blow off some steam!

4: Gamification = Fun!Gamification

Gamification involves taking the enjoyable aspects of games and applying them to other areas of life that aren’t so enjoyable. If you want to make work more fun, gamification is a great place to start. Not only is it fun, but 80% of staff think that they would be more productive in a gamified workplace.

Final Word

The fun tightrope can be hard to balance. But don’t worry about putting your foot wrong. With our handy hints you’ll be sure to succeed.

With a workplace that’s full of fun, it’s important that every area of work-life is enjoyable. If your day-to-day job is fun, but your training is still dull and boring, you’ll quickly grow to resent it. If you want to inject some fun into your online, all you need to do is click the button below…

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