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Should work be fun?

Did you know that January 28th was National Fun at Work Day?

This may not be the most commonly known holiday, but it can be a great reminder to consider the workplace culture at your company and the potential benefits of ensuring that employees are enjoying (at least part) of their work day.

Why including fun at work is important

HR experts like author Bob Nelson (1001 Ways to Motivate Employees, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees) and columnist Steve Strauss, both have a myriad of reasons why employers should incorporate some fun into each work day, including:

  • It can stimulate creativity
  • It can relieve or reduce stress
  • It can increase productivity
  • It can be a retention tool
  • It can improves employee morale, engagement, and teamwork

Concerns employers may have

Many business owners might find it counter-intuitive to incorporate fun into the workday as a way to increase productivity. In fact, they likely worry it will result in drastically reduced outputs. Some other top worries might include:

  • Fun doesn’t belong in a “serious” workplace
  • Customers may be turned off seeing your employees having too much fun
  • Employees will take advantage of the time away from their regular duties

Tips for HR managers and employers

Clear Path HR consultant Kelly Auld highlights some things employers should consider:

Ensure that the nature of the “fun” is tasteful and appropriate for your workplace. Remember that what’s fun for one person is not necessarily so for another. The fun activity should never be at the expense of an employee or customer.

If your company is large enough, it may also be a good idea to allow different departments to design their own activities rather than applying a “one size fits all” approach.

Some additional tips:

  • Organize fun events, like a monthly celebration of employee birthdays or a special costume day, with specific start and end times, rather than having several random activities happening sporadically
  • Encourage employees to come up with ideas that resonate with them and involve them in the implementation
  • Incorporate contests and incentives to make everyday tasks more enjoyable, such as a team pizza party for meeting a particular quota or achievement
  • Photograph or take videos of special events so that you can share them on your social media sites (to demonstrate your corporate culture to prospective applicants) or create a photo album for team members to share

An example

We believe in incorporating fun into our workplace so much that we included “Having Fun”as one of our nine corporate values (see our full list here). As part of this value, we provide the following supporting statements:

  • We view life as a journey to be enjoyed and appreciated.
  • We create an atmosphere of fun and happiness so all around us enjoy it as well.
  • We believe that what is fun gets done.
  • We enjoy spending time with our teammates and customers.
  • We celebrate and reward our successes.
  • We value humour, but never at the expense of another.

Putting this value into practice, we enjoy several special events throughout the year, including a Tubing Night, a team lunch each month with a different theme (Oktoberfest, Winter, Summer BBQ), participating in charity events like the Terry Fox Run, and celebrating birthdays and successes at our monthly team meeting.

So what fun elements do you include in your workplace and will you be doing anything specific to mark National Fun at Work Day?

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Clear Path Employer Services

Certified HR consultants and medical professionals at Clear Path Employer Services
Clear Path Employer Services is a team of certified HR consultants and medical professionals dedicated to resolving the human resources and claims management challenges facing businesses across Ontario. The company was founded in 2003 by Anna Aceto-Guerin, a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) specializing in WSIB claims management and NEER cost containment, with a focus on return-to-work programs and acquiring SIEF cost relief for employers. Read more
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