For most people, the words “work” and “fun” don’t go together often. Or… at all. Just the thought of work is enough to start the stress buildup in your brain and the feeling of dread in your stomach. After all, the most common line of thought is that work isn’t supposed to be fun, and anyone seen having fun at work is probably slacking off. Business owners and managers tend to think the same thing — that no fun time or relaxation is the key to maximizing productivity.
However, that isn’t the case at all. Starting to enjoy your days at work can completely change your attitude towards it while also making you more productive.
What Difference Does it Make?
Several studies have been carried out over the last two decades that show that fun workplaces tend to have happier, more satisfied employees. When employees feel satisfied with their jobs and work environments, it does wonders to the quality of their work. They feel more motivated and willing to give their all to their job instead of viewing it as an obligation or a responsibility. This enhances their efficiency, reduces stress, and produces better results overall.
Having fun has also been shown to improve teamwork among employees, which further increases their job satisfaction and helps with employee retention.
So, whether you’re distracting yourself with a ping pong table and bat or going out for lunch with your colleagues, it always pays to try and make work more fun. Here are some ideas for how to go about doing it.
Having Fun With Your Coworkers
Your coworkers are people you see every day, and yet may not have had much of an opportunity to connect with. But since you’re spending so much time in the same (boring) environment with them, making an effort to get along can make all the difference.
A quick way to do this is by paying compliments. Tell someone you liked the idea they pitched in the last meeting, or the way they’ve decorated their part of the office. Compliments feel just as good to give as they do to receive.
Next — feel free to crack a joke from time to time. They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s contagious. Try making jokes out of things that happen around work, or you could share something funny you found on the internet. Anything’s enough to make the day a little brighter.
You could also create special interest groups or clubs to find out what others like and have regular meetings to talk about and bond over those things. These could be anything, from baking to video games to politics. Some groups might even teach the others how to do their own hobbies, making it a fun learning experience for all.
Friendly Competitions and More
A little competitive spirit can lighten the mood at any time. Lighthearted sports tournaments during break times are not only fun, but they also help with teamwork and mean everyone can get in a little exercise after sitting around all day. Video games can be a fun way to pass the time too, if your workplace has anywhere to set up a gaming console.
You could also arrange some fun weekly or monthly challenges, whether official or not, with prizes to motivate everyone to take part. The promise of a reward for some fun task is sure to help at least some people enjoy coming to work a bit more.
You could even set aside days for things like this, with games or movies planned out and pizza or snacks ready for the time in between. Just don’t make them too regular, or the wasted time will cancel out your enhanced productivity.
Viva la Celebración
A little celebration never hurt anyone. In fact, it just makes things even more entertaining! Take some time out to celebrate anything, from birthdays to work anniversaries to holidays and even company achievements. Even small things are worth getting a little excited over.
Get some cake and ice cream, prepare small gifts (or gift cards), and just get in the fun spirit to make the days worth getting through. In larger workplaces, it might help to celebrate all the birthdays in a month on the same day to keep things at an acceptable level.
Enjoy Your Own Workspace
Of course, one of the most important factors to enjoying work is whether you feel good in your own workspace. The most obvious suggestion here is to decorate your office/cube. You could stick up pictures of your family or things that make you happy, keep mementos on your desk, and maybe even keep things like birthday cards or gifts around you. After all, we’re all most productive in a space we feel comfortable in.
It could also help to have fresh flowers in the workspace, and to furnish the area with colors you enjoy. Bright colors, for example, can help boost your mood and make you feel more awake throughout the day. Colors don’t have to be limited to furnishing, either. Colored post-its, paper clips, folders, and more can make simple tasks and organization more fun.
Finally, you’ll probably find that stress relief is very important. Take 5 minutes even on the most stressful days to just walk around the office and clear your mind before sitting down at your desk again. Keep things like stress balls handy to let your frustration out in those. Or, of course, turn up the music. A little music can help anyone regain their energy. Some offices even blast music for everyone when it looks like they’re getting tired to keep morale high.
Enjoying work is always important, as stated before. Whether you’re a boss or an employee, just putting in a bit of effort to make work a happier place can make all the difference, and there’s no harm in it — happier workers means better productivity, after all. Of course, these aren’t the only ways to have fun. Use these ideas as inspiration or come up with your own depending on your work environment.