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How Having Fun at Work Contributes to Company Culture
  • 06 August 2018
  • Tiffany C Wright

How Having Fun at Work Contributes to Company Culture

A key aspect of the workplace that many small business owners overlook is fun. Workers who have fun are more committed, more engaged, and more interested in their work and their role. Your company culture both reflects the fun and the way in which you convey this.

What are the benefits of and statistics on fun?

As Forbes highlights, a fun workplace environment helps create a positive atmosphere that can also benefits customers and vendors. Research has long shown that emotions are contagious. As a small business owner, you want to make sure that the emotion you and your staff convey is a positive one.

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Think of one particular U.S. airline, for example, whose flight attendants and other crew members are often recorded singing, improving and doing other spontaneous interactions with customers. These types of fun activities delight customers as the airline consistently receives high marks for its remarkable customer service.

A company culture and working environment can play into attracting qualified talent within the workforce. Many employees, especially those from younger generations, actively seek a fun working environment. A positive social atmosphere where employees have freedom to laugh and enjoy snacks or meals together can lead to an increase in productivity. These types of activities can also help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, while at the same time help increase ability to learn.

Want to feel focused and engaged? Strive to create an environment where you, your staff and your customers feel good! This type of culture creates strong camaraderie among colleagues and has been shown to reduce absenteeism.

How do you encourage fun?

There are several ways that you can encourage fun throughout your organization, and fun can mean different things to people. But generally, fun stems from laughter and camaraderie. It’s important throughout a day for people to take a moment to step away and clear their head, enjoy a moment of downtime and maybe even participate in some group exercise. Whatever you choose to implement, it needs to mesh with your company culture. Otherwise, these things can come across as forced or contrived.

Begin by encouraging employees to get to know one another. Plan to host company-paid breakfasts, lunches or break time refreshments for hard-working employees every couple of months. Encourage everyone to take time away from their desk at lunch, especially anyone who is a salaried employee and more likely to work through their lunch break. Provide a comfortable, relaxing area for folks to sit and relax together, where it’s easy to strike up a conversation among peers.

Perhaps you consider a summertime barbecue or company picnic for employees and their families. Or if you’re budget and schedule allow, start planning a holiday party or dinner, depending on the number of employees you have. If you want to take it a step further, consider having an off-site team building activity. Maybe everyone goes go-cart racing, or perhaps an excursion that allows people to work together and enjoy the outdoors – if you’re near water, it could be a ½ day of fishing or boating, or a group volunteer activity that benefits a local charitable organization.

Go the extra mile but be creative.

Spend a moment browsing the web and social media sites like Pinterest for team-building activities or ideas for injecting some fun into the work environment.

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Think of common celebrations in the workplace in a more untraditional way. Birthdays, weddings, babies, and company anniversaries are common events that bring folks together to celebrate. Instead of getting a card and having everyone sign it for a birthday, maybe you provide a unique cake that speaks to the person's interests for all to share, or decorate the employee's office. Instead of simply saying, "Good job!" when the company, department or particular person achieves a milestone, recognize that individual with a gift card to his or her favorite restaurant.

Institutionalize the fun.

As you begin to incorporate fun into your company culture, your vendors, employees and customers are likely to catch on. Share company goals with employees and key subcontractors to facilitate your ability to recognize key milestones. Encourage your managers, primary customers or others to share their achievements with you. Leverage social media to share the different events and activities with your customers as well.

When you spend such a significant part of your life working on and in your business, it’s important to create an environment that fosters productivity and helpfulness. When your culture includes elements of fun and camaraderie, your employees are more likely to execute on the mission and values that you’ve established, and customers are likely to notice.

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