The importance of having fun in the workplace can’t be overlooked by business owners especially when it makes employees more efficient at work. Why will you make the office gloomy when you can make the work fun and productive at the same time? Employees who work in a happy working environment tend to work harder and maintain a better judgment when it comes to organisational crisis. In fact, according to Forbes.com, a research conducted by Professor Cary Cooper found that the integration of fun in the workplace increases productivity and lessens absences. A happy worker is a productive worker.
Why should business owners need to include fun in the workplace?
Making the workplace fun to work can have significant effects on employees and your business as a whole. All work and no play can disengage employees from their jobs.
Here, we discuss several reasons why small business owners need to incorporate fun in the workplace:
1. Prevents employee absenteeism
Employee absenteeism is undeniably one of the most significant problems experienced by employers. In fact, businesses worldwide lose billions because of the prevalent absences of workers. Remember, it’s not just the cost of ‘sick leave’ that you might be paying. It’s the reduction of services to customers – either reduction in volume or quality. However, employees who have fun at work are more likely to avoid stress and will take less time off from the office. They actually want to be there!
2. Improves communication between employees
Investing effort in creating a fun workplace will encourage employees to engage in an open discussion and build trust with one another. If employees treat their colleagues as friends, they will communicate with each other effectively.
3. Encourages creativity
A fun workplace will encourage a creative culture. Employees learn best when they are given tasks that they enjoy. Having fun also stimulates the creative imaginations of employees.
4. Attracts customers
Promoting fun in the office attracts customers. How? If employees are having fun at work, they are bound to share stories about how enjoyable their jobs are which will eventually help to gain attention on social media. When potential customers take a glimpse of the “human” side of an organization, it will increase trust and familiarity. The contact with your team will be more pleasurable and in turn, it will be enjoyable doing business with you.
5. Increases employee productivity
When an employee feels unmotivated, they tend to communicate less with other employees which will, in turn, affect their productivity. There are always unexpected events that will inevitably make employees feel down. But when they are surrounded by happiness, they recover fast from those misfortunes. When they are engaged, happy and motivated, they won’t be inclined to be hanging out on Facebook, taking personal calls or daydreaming (about where else they might be) but instead engaged and productive.
What do employees want?
The ever-changing business climate caused the evolution of the demands and desires of employees. Employers are overwhelmed with the emergence of trendy tips for keeping varied generations of workers satisfied and happy. If an organization is aiming to retain top talents, they need to really understand what employees want from their employers.
According to the research “2018 Global Talent Trends” conducted by Mercer, there are three factors that employees desire. These factors are:
1. Flexible work options
Most employees desire to work in a company that offers permanent work flexibility in terms of schedules and telecommuting. Flexibility is also a known contributor to stress reduction and job burnout prevention.
2. Health and well-being commitment
Providing initiatives that promote health and well-being attract employees. Every employee wants to be treated as a human in the workplace and not a robot. Offering a customised wellness program will boost physical and emotional health of employees.
3. A sense of purpose in the workplace
Nowadays, employees desire to have a fulfilling job. If employers fail to integrate a sense of purpose, employees will find it difficult to connect with their jobs. Furthermore, without a sense of purpose, employees will feel that they are not contributing to society. They want to feel valued, appreciated and know there is an opportunity for growth, education or advancement within the business.
How to Make Workplace Fun and Happy
The aforementioned factors can significantly contribute to keeping employees satisfied and happy. However, those factors can be coupled with various initiatives to make the workplace a fun place to be for workers. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Make decorations in the workplace
Allow employees to decorate their workspace to boost their morale. You may let them personalise it by letting them display their family pictures and put fresh flowers or bright colours that they like. Use the seasons, or special events like Easter or Halloween to have a bit more fun.
2. Provide snacks in the workplace
Whether these be healthy snacks or ‘treats’ … the few dollars they might cost will well outweigh a happy employee. Instead of scrimping and buying el-cheapo coffee, go for something decent. It’s the little extras which make the difference.
3. Conduct sports tournaments or other team building activities
Install sports equipment and start a sports tournament during lunch break. Engaging employees in sports will enhance their teamwork. Alternatively, have a ‘team building day’ away from the office where they can have some fun. You don’t have to wait till Christmas to do something exciting and fun with your team. Give the team something to look forward to.
4. Reward team efforts
It might be having a Friday lunch after a great week or allowing the team to go home early on a Friday if all deadlines are met. Money is a good reward, but don’t diminish the simple things, like lunch, or a drink after work on a Friday or the simplest and economic reward – a genuine thank you! Even better is public praise, in front of clients or in front of the team. Also, remember that feeling valued is important, so be sure to ask (and value) their opinions.
5. Install a wall of fame
Put a wall of fame inside the office which will be decorated with employee and company awards, inspiring client feedback and clippings of achievements. This will inspire workers to perform better in their jobs.
6. Create a bulletin board for a bucket list
Install a bulletin board at the center area of your office and ask your employees to write an item that is included in their bucket list. It will motivate them to achieve what they have written down on the board.
7. Display toys
Toys are known to be a great provider of comfort. You may display toys in the office including sand tray, origami paper, koosh balls and wooden blocks.
8. Make sure the work environment is nice
You may not be able to control the size of the space your staff work in, but you can decorate it to be aesthetically appealing. Light and airy colours will lift spirits. Artwork on walls makes a big difference too. If you have parents working for you, why not encourage them to provide you with scans of their children’s art. Blow up that art, laminate it and pop it on the wall.
9. Celebrate important milestones including birthdays
Treat employees with pizza or ice cream every time your business reaches an important milestone. This is one of the ways to foster a healthy relationship with the employees.
10. Post a riddle
Release a weekly riddle and award the first employee who will solve the riddle. A Reston, Virginia company has been using this technique to engage its employees and it has been very successful. Their employees always look forward to participate in the weekly riddle.
11. Organise a talent show or social night
Every employee is talented. Organising a talent show will showcase their talents such as singing, dancing and doing magic tricks. You may assign your employees to organise the event to motivate corporate bonding and team building. Remember, different people have different interests so be sure to vary what is being organised. Ask your team what they’d like to do – rather than dictate what will happen.
Having fun at work is not only beneficial to employees. It also greatly contributes to the overall productivity of the company. Employees are estimated to spend one-third of their working life in the workplace, so at least make it fun and memorable. Remember, happy employees are productive employees and if your staff are happy and productive then they will be looking after your customers well. Customers who are happy improves the business. Guess what – now you have a happy business owner!