Is Fun Work an Oxymoron?

Monday, December 3 2018

Many believe that work and fun shouldn’t go together. Let’s dispel that myth: because when sleeping, commuting, cooking, cleaning, eating and other necessary daily activities are excluded, it is estimated that we spend 50 percent or more of the remaining time working. It is critical to health and well-being that we enjoy both the time and the environment at work.

People who have fun in their work are:

  • More engaged
  • Relaxed and less stressed
  • Productive, focused, and therefore, achieving results
  • Able to build better relationships and enjoy positive interactions with team members
  • Trusting, which facilitates greater interaction and collaboration
  • Energized
  • Willing to tackle and solve problems
  • Eager to take on new projects
  • Likely to stay, which reduces the costs of employee turn over

You know from your own experience that you do your best work when you are having fun. A work environment that supports fun can be observed: Do you hear laughter during the workday? See smiles? Experience staff willingness to bring up issues and do what it takes to solve problem?

A fun environment does not mean that the leader makes jokes all the time (so don’t stress about being a comedian), provides lunches or other forms of entertainment. These are great when they can happen, but they are not necessary: what is essential to creating a fun environment is ensuring that:

  • The needs of the individual team members are satisfied. Spend time getting to know people and learn what motivates them.
  • Your own needs are met. Model having fun.
  • Successes are acknowledged and celebrated.
  • You listen with empathy, seeking to understand, with an open mind and without judgement.
  • Clear expectations are set and agreed upon.
  • Regular coaching takes place and you address issues and changes in attitude as they become apparent.
  • Time is spent developing people.
  • Others are asked for their input and ideas, especially on matters that affect them.
  • You keep your commitments.

Leaders take note: if you are not having fun at work it is time to change. Your role is to model the behaviour of having fun and create an environment that inspires and motivates your teams to have fun. Your goal is to have everyone in the organization saying and thinking, “I love what I do; I have fun at work.”  When this happens you will marvel at the impact on your organization’s success.