429 of the original Fortune 500 companies (1955) are no longer is business. Adapt or die.
There are still too many managers that think having fun at work isn’t important.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Let me first start by explaining that company culture is not an option. It happens either way, whether you like it or not.
You can definitely design a company culture, but if you don’t it will happen on its own, and generally just take on the vibe that is created by the founders or managers.
Culture can be changed, although it’s crazy hard if not everyone is on board.
In fact, our founder, Dan, spoke about the importance of fun at work on the TChat radio show with Meghan Biro.
Dan gave a few examples on the show of successful implementations of making work more fun that have led to measurable results.
My favorite example, is of a company called NextJump.
What happened at NextJump, was they wanted to implement an employee wellness program, and they needed a fun and creative way to motivate their employees, which were made up of mostly computer programmers.
They had initially tried to build a gym inside their office, and had a few different ways of incentivizing them, but nothing seemed to work.
So they made it more fun.
What they did, was they created a leaderboard, and had weekly competitions between the employees. The employee with the best result would win $1,000 in cash.
Here’s a video of NextJump’s CEO talking about it at the GSummit conference:
That’s the secret.
It’s about taking mundane things that you want people to do anyways, and make it a little bit better and more enjoyable. Every company deserves to have a fun company culture.
Employees Need To Be Social
Humans are social creatures.
There are a lot of managers out there that see employees talking to each other as a waste of time, and unproductive. I’ve seen this first-hand a few too many times.
A recent doctoral thesis by researcher Helen Stockhult, Employees in dialogue: A study on the willingness to do more than the formally expected, found that social relationships between colleagues are at the root of an employee’s willingness to take on responsibilities beyond their formal job description.
A study done at the London school of economics found that socializing with colleagues is the only thing proven to make you as happy than when you’re not at work.
Similarly, Gallup found that if you have a best friend at your work, you’re much more motivated and productive.
As you can see, there is real tangible evidence to having a fun company culture.
Tips To Have More Fun At Work
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. – Dale Carnegie
Here are a few ideas I have about making work more fun.
1. Promote More Fun
Managers and leaders need to communicate often that it’s okay to have at work, and they themselves should be having fun and joking around every now and then. It’s important for employees (especially new ones) to see that this is okay.
2. Set The Tone
It’s important to have boundaries. While we want to create a fun place to work, things like sexist/racist jokes or remarks can’t be tolerated. It should go without saying, but just make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Set Up A Place For Jokes
Whether it’s an internal intranet or using a tool like Yammer, have a fun place where employees can come and post funny gifs or other jokes. It will create a fun way to share things with your colleagues when you find something humorous on the internet.
4. Have A “Fun Committee”
Two birds, one stone. Employees feel a sense of autonomy and responsibility that you’re letting them plan these events, and employees are able to participate in regular fun events like happy hours.
5. Celebrate Small Wins
First of all, this is incredibly important for the psychology of an employee, and is what’s known as the “progress principle”. It’s important to recognize hard work, and is one of the ways employees stay motivated. Use this as an opportunity to have a little fun, and maybe order some food or have a few drinks.
6. Group Exercise
At one company I used to work at, every day at around lunch time, we would put on music on a speaker, and do an exercise called “the plank” (great for your abs), and see who could stay up the longest. It’s a fun way to get everyone to be healthy.
7. Games In The Office
Whether it’s a ping pong table, a Foosball table, or an Xbox on a big screen, let your employees unwind after a long day or when they need a break with some fun games. These things go a long way in helping to promote a fun environment.
This is only a small list, and I’m sure you can think of many other ways to have fun at work, but the point is that having fun will make employees happy, and happy employees lead to more money.
Employees are coming to work either way, so why not make it more fun to them to enjoy? Why not make them excited about coming into work, so that they go above and beyond in their job?
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
What Do You Do To Create Fun At Work?
Any cool ideas you can share? Let me know in the comments!