Games, fun, joy—sometimes these aren’t exactly what’d you associate with the workplace.
But why not? We spend so much time at work. Shouldn’t it also be important to let off some steam, laugh, and have fun with your coworkers?
We think, yes! Especially when you add in the business benefits of fun at work, like employee engagement, productivity, and more.
“Work is much more fun than fun” – Noel Coward
This article will discuss why having fun at work is important and ideas on bringing fun to your workplace.
Why Fun At Work is Important: Six Key Reasons
1. Happy Employees Are Healthier
As we grow up, work takes over our routine and most parts of our lives. This not only makes us dull but also leads to stress and other health issues.
A study found that UK businesses lose 6.9 days a year per employee because of absenteeism, at an estimated cost of £554 per employee. (Source)
Happy employees who have fun at work are more likely to avoid the negative effects of stress and anxiety. As an organization, it is your job to make sure your employees are having fun at the workplace.
When companies prioritize employees’ happiness, especially combined with career development, the result is a more positive work environment, and subsequently, successful employees. Employers are now using wellness programs and various activities to increase employee engagement and to become an employer of choice.
SnackNation holds a “Crush It Call” every Friday. Their entire team gathers around in a circle and they go around the room calling out someone whose work they want to recognize (“someone who “crushed it” that week).
If your workers are generally healthier, then they’ll take less time off due to sickness. Introduce more fun activities and wellbeing initiatives into your workplace.
2. Having Fun Improves Communication and Collaboration
If your employees are having fun, they will communicate and collaborate better. It’s an effective way of improving the emotional quotient of your employees.
Enjoying time with colleagues in a relaxed and fun environment encourages honest and open discussion and trust in one another. If employees are friends with the people they work with, instead of simply being colleagues, they’ll work better together and communicate more effectively.
Research has revealed that employees with friends at work are twice as likely to be engaged than those without friends at work.
We’re more likely to ask for help and advice from people we like and trust. Being friends with our co-workers breaks down the barriers that normally prevent us from reaching out, especially when we’re afraid of looking foolish. Not hesitating to ask questions helps us save time, avoid costly mistakes, and improve our skills.
Introduce games and icebreaker activities to understand each other’s traits, likes, dislikes, and strengths.
3. Fun Breeds Creativity
Social ‘play’ is a vital part of healthy creative development. Young children often learn best when they are playing, and that principle also applies to adults.
As we grow up, we pursue almost similar tasks every day of our lives. We have a fixed routine where we head to the office and do the same jobs repeatedly. Over time, the potential for creativity and innovation reduces, and out-of-the-box ideas hardly ever see the light of the day.
When teams are having fun, they become more creative and open-minded. Our brains secrete the happy hormones that are more likely responsible for good ideas and innovative solutions.
When there’s fun in the air, people imagine more and stimulate better conversation. Research shows individuals with a positive mindset are 31% more creative than those with a negative mindset – or even a neutral one.
You can create creative culture by injecting fun initiatives into employees’ daily lives. Challenges and problem-solving exercises in the form of competitions are an effective way to increase innovation within the workforce.
4. Having Fun Makes Employees More Productive
A study by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that happier employees are more productive by an average of 12% and, in some cases, up to 20% more than a control group.
If you’ve underestimated fun, chances are you’re also neglecting productivity. If your employees are sad and gloomy, they feel less motivated to do a task.
On the other hand, happier employees are far more productive and sharp. While there might be occasional lows in everybody’s lives, organizations should make an effort to lift their employees’ spirits with fun activities.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, says that
“There is good evidence that if you allow employees to engage in something they want to do, (which) is playful, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation.”
5. Increase In Commitment and Job Satisfaction
Who doesn’t love to work at a place that makes them happy? Most employees remain dissatisfied with their jobs because there is way too much stress at their workplace. This results in monotony in life and ultimately lower motivation levels.
Remember, employees are the backbone of your organization and until they feel satisfied and content, they will not be able to deliver their best.
When your employees have fun at the workplace, the air is filled with different energy where people want to give their best to a task. This promotes the exchange of ideas and better collaborations. Ultimately, it leads to job satisfaction and a healthy atmosphere.
According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, companies with a highly committed workforce are 21% more profitable. (Source)
6. Fun At Work Pays
According to the workplace factors for rating “This is a fun place to work” in the Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, produced by the Great Place to Work Institute, employees in companies that are denoted as “great” responded overwhelmingly, an average of 81 percent, that they are working in a “fun” environment.
On the other hand, at the “good” companies — those that apply for inclusion but do not make the top 100 — only 62 employees out of 100 say they are having fun.
How to Bring Fun at Work: 5 Easy Tips to Create Fun Work Environments
A study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior discovered it’s not necessarily the fun activities that teach the new lessons to employees. Instead, they think it’s the fun atmosphere that creates a better learning environment.
Here are a few ways to create a fun and happy workplace:
1. Create Games and Fun Activities
Studies have shown that games can help in reducing stress. We all love playing games. It’s a great escape from all our worries and anxiety. Playing a 20-minute game every day will help you feel included and connected to your team.
Fill the break room with exciting games such as Table Tennis, Foosball, Chess, board games, etc. You can also conduct fun activities, such as friendly sports competitions, cooking competitions, scavenger hunts, the human knot, etc.
When employees see C-level executives and their direct managers playing volleyball or badminton at a company outing, they see a human side of leaders. This stays with an employee for a long time, and it makes their bosses seem more human and approachable.
The whole point of playing games and fun activities is improving interpersonal relationships, exposing and addressing issues.
2. Create Opportunities for Socializing Outside of the Office
Friendly relationships create a fertile ground for teamwork and prevent competitiveness and mistrust among coworkers.
Set up a happy hour once a month or book tickets to attend a football game together. Team lunches, dinners, picnics, or coffee outings can be a great way for coworkers to unwind and get to know each other in a social situation. If your employees become friends, they are more likely to be happy in their positions.
Don’t shy away from organizing annual meetups. A retreat is important for teams to understand better who they work with and how each team member thinks.
3. Recognize Milestones, Both Big and Small
A few examples are high-five emails to the team, handwritten letters, shoutouts on social media, feature them in the company’s newsletter, a surprise day off, a wall of fame, etc. Find some great employee recognition and appreciation ideas here.
You can create some wacky and unique awards that your team can strive for as well. You can also integrate an employee recognition and reward tool like EngageWith. Employees can appreciate and recognize peers, juniors, or managers by giving them Kudos or Shoutouts for a job well done.
Celebrating birthdays is also a great way to socialize. It’s a special time where employees can take advantage of a break and talk and relax with their coworkers while eating birthday cake and drinking a cup of coffee.
4. Encourage Mindfulness Practices
Why not make mindfulness a part of your office culture? Try having a monthly event where your team can learn a new mindfulness practice, such as meditation, yoga, or laughter yoga class.
Giving people some simple mindfulness apps can help them become more aware of how they feel and react to emotion, more observant of their inner and outer worlds, and more present in how they listen and communicate, raising the overall level of consciousness in the workplace.
Studies show that meditation training can improve your ability to focus on one thing at a time and help curb your tendency for distraction.
5. Incentivize Wellness (and Make It Fun)
While a health seminar may sound like a decent idea to help employees improve wellness, it’s not something that will get your team excited.
For a wellness program to work, you have to get buy-in and make it something that’s enjoyable for your team. Yoga, healthy snacks/lunches, steps challenges with tracking devices, or workplace fitness challenges have all been a hit at Springworks.
According to Inc, businesses can expect an average ROI of $5.81 for every $1 spent on employee wellness.
You can also offer virtual fitness classes to your employees who are working from home. You can conduct such sessions through Zoom or Google Meet.
Fun at work creates happier employees. Workplace fun has been linked to:
– Enhanced motivation
– Increased productivity
– Reduced stress
– Higher job satisfaction
– Improved task performance
In this guide, you’ll discover some fantastic ways to bring fun to the workplace.
Plan out a whole day of team-building games, movies, and pet projects. Have lunch catered and keep snacks on hand – well-fed people are happy people.
All work and no play make us boring and dull! Where there is laughter and fun, high-performance teams thrive.