One study recently cited in Harvard Business Review showed that workplaces employees described as fun had higher engagement, creativity, and purpose — increasing employee retention and reducing turnover. But what is a "fun" workplace and how do you develop one?
"Fun" is simply defined as "a feeling of enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure." Workplaces around the globe--taking a stab at achieving this feeling--bring in arcade consoles and pinball machines, decorate their offices with bright colors and dynamic art, and institute weekly (or even daily) happy hours where beer and kombucha flow like water.
Some of these workplaces may have employees who feel like their workplace is fun, but it's not because of the IPAs and Pac-Man. It's because of the people and the way they feel about working together.
In its 2022 Global Talent Trends report LinkedIn found that work/life balance, happy coworkers, and work flexibility ranked higher in importance than a company's "Culture," while "Fun" was nowhere on the list. Why is this? It's because a fun workplace and a distinctive culture cannot be simply started in a workplace. Employees who are surveyed know that these grow out of other healthy, positive workplace characteristics.
Seeds of Fun
Work flexibility gives people the space to have fun. When employees have the ability to balance their own workloads, they have confidence that they are treated as professionals, and they feel safe attending to their day-to-day needs. This provides a workplace where employees feel like it is possible to have fun.
- Work Calm
Work stress gets in the way of fun. It happens when assigned work is too much to manage or employees do not have what they need to do their work. Employees instead have "work calm" when their workplace thoughtfully assigns work and gives employees the tools and resources they need. Work calm makes sure stress does not get in the way of fun.
- Safe Environment
Employees can't have fun when they are anxious or afraid. A safe work environment means employees feel okay asking their leaders for help or support, feel like they can ask questions or speak up when they do not understand, and feel comfortable socializing without a cliquish atmosphere.
Build from the Fundamentals
Once a workplace has a safe, low-stress atmosphere, the real fun stuff can begin. Employees can enjoy even ordinary activities like daily team meetings with enthusiasm and chuckles. Work life only gets better when the workplace provides fun events and facilities. Some of the most effective resources for added fun are remarkably simple:
- Jokes of the day
- Space and time devoted to play
- Team game breaks
- Board games
- Playground balls
- Nerf guns or soft items to toss around the office
Reap the Benefits
Employees experiencing a fun workplace are more engaged and have stronger cohesiveness with their teams. They are more likely to stay and more likely to grow in their roles. They are even more likely to experience highly productive "flow states" when in work-mode.
So start with the foundations of fun and build a workplace that is happier and more productive.
Amazing Workplace provides an Employee Happiness Survey with actionable, accurate results on Fun and 24 other drivers of workplace happiness. If you'd like to learn more about it, or exchange happy workplace stories, start here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.