If you’re not having fun at work, then you’re not working hard enough. Twenty years of employment studies illustrate that having fun at work is profitable. Companies that are in the top quartile for employee engagement have 22% higher profitability than their competitors, even during a recession. Having fun at the office increases productivity, reduces stress and improves task performance. It increases retention by making workers more satisfied with their job.
Business Case For Fun at Work
Happier employees are more creative, efficient and produce higher quality work. Employee satisfaction even directly affects the consumer. Your employees interact directly with customers. A happy employee is more likely to find solutions that benefit the customer and go the extra mile. Research reveals that low employee satisfaction had the lowest customer satisfaction, while similar companies with the highest employee satisfaction had the highest customer satisfaction.
Happy workers save companies money
Happy employees are better workers. Studies show that employee satisfaction is positively related to performance quality, innovation, and efficiency. Happy workers have higher performance. A study from Kansas State University shows that 10-25 percent of job performance variance is associated with differences in well-being. If an employee is paid $55,000, that one unhappy employee could cost the company $264 a week in lost productivity. With ten employees, that becomes almost $140,000 per year. Unhappy workers are bad business. And it’s not just revenue that it’s affected by employee happiness. Happy employees take fewer sick days and are more likely to stay in their jobs.
Happiness Fosters Collaboration
Who do you communicate with more honestly: a friend or an acquaintance? We don’t magically turn into different creatures when we go to work. Enjoying people at work encourages candid conversations and mutual trust. When people are friends, they will communicate more effectively. When we enjoy people, we don’t hesitate to ask questions (or answer them). That helps us avoid costly mistakes, improve our skills, and save time. Office friendships raise work satisfaction by 25%. It also makes us seven times more likely to feel engaged.
Having fun with people is an excellent way for individuals to learn about each other’s traits, likes, dislikes, and develop unspoken habits and rules that aid mutual understanding. This knowledge enables them to understand better each other’s boundaries, strengths, and weaknesses.
How do you create office fun?
Fun at the office should not be forced. But it does require leaders to encourage it. Culture builds organically. Leaders can plant the seeds of happiness by providing staff opportunities to connect more informally, such as catered lunches, icebreakers, and team fundraisers.
Ideas for Fun at the Office
Give People the freedom to be themselves. Encourage laughter in the workplace. Tell jokes, place funny clips in presentations. Laughing removes inhibitions, makes you more open to new ideas, and creates new ways of thinking. It’s important to laugh. I send memes around the office that are at least an attempt at humor. It’s earned me the title of “Chief Hijinks Officer.”
Games are a great way to have fun. If your business is large enough, you can create teams to compete against each other in the office. And you can also participate as a team outside of work. Get different groups of employees together to compete. Form a kickball team. Go to trivia night. These activities will build teamwork. When you go out together, you will strengthen work teams and form relationships. When you work with friends, you will communicate better, which improves team effectiveness.
A good snack stash
Keeping communal snacks creates a focal point for conversation in the office. It also keeps employees happy because they don’t have to continually run out of the office if they want a bite to eat.
When someone goes on an extended vacation, you have the responsibility to prank them. Not only is it hilarious if done well, but your victim will know that they’ve been missed and appreciate it. When a coworker left on vacation, I moved his office a few doors down, putting everything in the same place it was in his original office. When I came back from vacation, I found everything–and I mean everything–individually wrapped in cellophane. Years later, I still find things that were covered. And my office friend never moved back to his old office. He likes the new one that I gave him better. Everyone in the office got a kick out of it.
Celebrate Special Events
Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and holidays with parties. When celebrations focus on individual team members, they know that their company cares about them specifically.
Praise Publicly and Often
You need to be giving public praise every week. Celebrate small wins and big ones. For example, in meetings, let people know when you’ve seen them at their best. Send an email or a group chats to let a coworker know they’ve done good work. If you send praise in writing, make sure that you copy their supervisor. In some offices, you may ring a bell when you’ve reached an achievement. Other offices even have a parade. When you celebrate success at work, you create a strong bond between the company-success and the individual worker.
Your workplace should be a place where employees like to be. Drab cubicles are layouts that almost nobody appreciates. Paint your beige walls. Personalize your employee’s workplace. The goal is to make your workplace somewhere that your employees want to stay.
Ultimately, your office should be an exciting place.
Encourage workers to join in a short workout. Incentivize employees to encourage participation. It’s essential to take a few minutes to get up out of your chair and walk around. It clears your mind and readies you for your next task. And studies show just walking around the office will increase creativity.
Create a work environment where you would want to work. Do not get discouraged if others don’t adopt your fun immediately. Be consistent. Be light. Be fun. Even the most stodgy curmudgeon will come around eventually. And if they don’t, then it says more about them than it does you. Have the freedom to be yourself.