By Kristen Rampe
Many people think that fun and work are mutually exclusive. Others have trouble convincing co-workers that “fun” isn’t a bad thing. No matter which camp you’re in, here are tips on why fun can be value-add at the office.
1. Fun is more than playing around
The concept of fun is broader than you think. Fun incorporates leisure and recreation – both of which fill the need for “taking a break” from long hours at the office. And it includes play (think: brainstorming) and humor which add value to our interactions and increase innovation.
If you’re stuck in an office or work environment where people are having trouble communicating, consider adding in some gentle, light-hearted fun to get everyone back on track. Since food is universally appealing, try bring in treats one day and have a mini-awards ceremony where everyone gets acknowledge for a recent good-deed then awarded their “Donut of Achievement.”
2. Fun can be profitable.
When you have a culture that includes fun, many other components fall into line. More fun leads to a stronger culture. That culture creates cohesive teams. Those teams work well together and have strong performance. High-performing teams contribute to more efficiency and profitability.
An enjoyable work environment with a healthy and balanced level of play and recreation contributes to reduced costs in recruiting, turnover, disengagement, and stress-related illness. On the flip side, fostering an environment of all work and no play may work well in short bursts, but is hard to sustain without long-term consequences.
3. Need talent? Attraction and Retention are improved with a relevant culture.
The current generation of new-job-seekers want to know where you stand on the office-culture scene. It’s no longer an unexpected gift to work in a fun, engaging culture: it’s essential. If your organization is one that seeks next-generation talent, take an inventory of your current culture and see how it measures up to what recruits are interested in.
Retaining employees can often be easier than attracting new ones. Most employees have a creative side, even if they focus more on technical work and problem solving most of the day. Having an outlet to fire up underutilized areas of the brain adds to the attractiveness of the job and a reason to stay on with the company.
How are you using fun and creativity to engage your top talent? Try adding in job responsibilities that are more interesting and even fun to keep your favorite staff from drifting away to a competitor.
4. It’s not too hard to give Fun a Try
Be sure you know your audience before you begin. Not everyone considers all activities, jokes and events “fun.”
If you have a champion of office or departmental fun, let them take on the role of Culture Club President or similar. Their work in bringing people together works better than something prescribed. Allow those who aren’t into it bow out.
There are countless ways to add in fun at your workplace. A few are written up here to kick off your inspiration.
Kristen Rampe, CPA is a consultant to professional service providers, and is the author of the humor book “Accounting Dreams and Delusions”. She provides consulting and customized, in-house CPE to professional service firms who value communication skills, client service and team building. Follow her at http://kristenrampe.com/blog for great ideas on how to improve your practice! On Twitter @kristenrampe