1) Amusment (especially lively or playful); 2) Entertaining; 3) Enjoyable.
Be open to creating uplifting environments. Building workplaces where people are invited to have fun starts with wanting them to feel alive. The tone and tenor you set is directly connected to your own belief systems about fun at work. Soul-inspiring leaders are convinced that creating fun environments attracts the bright and enthusiastic employees they seek to hire and retain.
Avoid one-time splashy events. Fun is not about splashy galas where a powerhouse motivational speaker is flown in to jazz up the troops at the company’s annual meeting. On the contrary – a morning of belly laughs with a humour consultant, only to return to a slave-like environment of disabling workloads and single-digit morale, leaves more damage than benefit in its wake.
Ignite fun by building it into daily routines. Consider inexpensive ways to ignite fun, like a Comedy Corner where employees can take “play breaks” (also known as creativity breaks) using a toy chest of idea-sparking gadgets. Thinking of ways to make work feel like play indicates your willingness to acknowledge that people actually accomplish more (productivity) when infused with spirit.
Celebrate achievements along the way. Soul-inspiring leaders do not wait for business initiatives to be completed before encouraging employees to relish their successes. It can be as simple as an afternoon off or a meal with their partner paid by the company. Acknowledging progress at key milestones gives everyone the momentum to push to the finish line.
Be inclusive in how you celebrate through fun. Soul-inspiring leaders do not wait until large-scale undertakings end to acknowledge the select few rather than the contributory many. To do so is downright de-motivating. To be exclusive rather than inclusive reveals a limited mentality on the part of hard-driving leaders – as if only certain individuals deserve joy rather than the whole team.
Expand your view of team-building events. Team-building events do not singularly need to be skills development-oriented in order to have business impact. If anything, time spent getting to know each team member’s qualities, talents and working preferences lays highly useful groundwork that speeds team integration and sets in place a people foundation critical to business success.
Recognize laughter’s benefits. In fitness circles, the positive effects of endorphins released through exercise are well-documented. The same holds true emotionally, mentally and spiritually through laughter at work. Become more like the average four-year-old who laughs fifty times a day, instead of the average adult who laughs only fifteen times. Make work a source of joy.
Link fun to the bottom-line. In causing spirits to soar, laughter promotes creativity. Like children at play, adults release innovation through fun. Given the imperatives to increase out-of-the-box thinking and decrease stress-management costs, you have your “business case” for putting fun first. Productivity is not only achieved through nose-to-the-grindstone seriousness.
Questions For Reflection
Do you consider your workplace fun? What elements contribute to, or take away, fun for you?
Do you believe it is OK to have fun at work? How do your belief systems influence your colleagues’ sense of fun?
What kinds of tasks and environments cause your energy to be drained away, and what types enhance your energy?