It can sometimes be hard to enjoy being at work. Depending on your workplace, and the work environment, work never feels like anything except just working. However, it is important to enjoy the place where you spend most of your day, especially as it seems to be harder to get away from work for many people. It may not seem like work and fun go together all that much, but there are a few ways to have fun at work, while still being a productive employee.
Studies that have been done on the subject show that having fun in the workplace can increase overall employee productivity, as well as behaviors like helping other colleagues, showing pride in the company, and stronger loyalty to the business. When people have fun and collaborate together, they feel like they are on the same team; this encourages and motivates everyone, and the overall atmosphere will benefit.
One way to have fun at work is to have recreation centers set up where people can play a game of table tennis while talking about a project, or simply step away from a roadblock for a bit to shoot some hoops. This can sometimes be just what is needed to foster a breakthrough. Regular breaks are a must if people are to stay motivated and refreshed, and taking breaks away from your desk is more effective than staying there.
When you’re faced with a more mundane assignment, always try to ask yourself, “How can I make this fun?” For example, if you have a long list of people to call on the phone, and you don’t need your computer in front of you, do it from your couch, or a relaxing hot tub. Or, if you really want to get out, there are plenty of parks or beaches that still pick up Wi-Fi, allowing you to work outside. There are ways to make even the most difficult job easier if you apply a little creativity to the problem.
Have fun with your whole team by going for regular days and/or nights out. Going out together as a team is a great way to get everyone having fun and forming relationships outside of work that could inspire collaboration back in the office. Celebrating employee birthdays is also a great way to have fun at work, and to make employees feel special. Have cake and ice cream, and maybe give those who are celebrating their birthday the opportunity to “Spin the Wheel” and win a prize. Employee anniversaries with the company are also an important thing to celebrate.
Another possible way to have fun at work is to set aside some time to redecorate, or rearrange the office. Plan time to brighten up work spaces, put up some new wall art, or just rearrange desks. Make sure it isn’t cluttered, and work together to add a little color and life to the corporate scene with work-appropriate photos, plants, knickknacks, posters and other quirky office decorations. You could always try creating funky name tags or finding celebrity doppelgängers to place on the name tags.
One of the best ways to have fun at work is with a friend. Gallup research shows that people who have friends at work increase their productivity, are more engaged and are more likely to say they have the opportunity to perform their best every day, says Zachary A. Schaefer, president and founder of the communication consulting firm Spark the Discussion in St. Louis. Plus, it helps to have a comrade handy for venting when things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. “It’s vital to connect with others on a personal level in the workplace,” he says.
While having fun at work is important, make sure you don’t slack off—that sends the wrong message. Keep a running list of your accomplishments or a to-do list of your priorities so you can justify your time. If you’re ahead of where you need to be, then have fun. The main way to show that having fun at work is okay is by managing your time properly, and finding a good balance so that all your work gets done in a timely manner, but you aren’t burnt out.