Work hard, play hard
It’s a term that’s often used in the business world, but usually not executed well. It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of meetings, clients, and logistics, leaving little time for ‘fun’. Something that can easily get pushed to the wayside may actually be the key to cultivating a healthy and productive work culture.
Let’s start with fun
We believe that fun, when carefully integrated into a culture, has a place in the professional world. It might not always look like air hockey, free food, or go karts (although, sometimes it can!); however, fun, when executed intentionally is a healthy aspect of any work environment. Fun in the workplace can be either structured or unstructured:
Structured vs unstructured fun
Structured Fun: A scheduled and planned out experience
Examples might include:
- Community service projects
- Movies with a team debrief
- Team trivia
- Picnic lunches
- Book discussions
Unstructured Fun: A spontaneous or lightly planned experience
Examples might include:
- Free time together
- Collective lunch
- Sporadic dance parties
- “Brain breaks” like going for a walk, playing VR, or watching a short YouTube video
How to integrate the right kind of fun into your workplace
Now, there are principles that play a key role in ensuring “fun” is executed in an efficient and professional way. Systems, for example, can be put into place to protect the business and the employee’s time and work space. Creating a culture of fun shouldn’t take away the ability to have a professional environment, and in fact, should enhance it.
When employees feel like they have the freedom to have fun at work, it can actually result in a more engaged, satisfied, and productive team.
Systems to use to create a fun, healthy, productive team
- Calendar invites: schedules can get busy, but when something is added to the calendar, it’s much more likely to happen. When you plan a moment of fun, be sure to add this to the calendar so people know it’s encouraged (if not expected) to participate. It’s also important to be considerate of time, calendars, and planning. Create a culture of respecting what is on the calendar, as well as the start and end times. Whether it’s a meeting with a client or a structured moment of fun, plan to attend, be prompt, and respect the end time.
- Quiet hours: create and follow through with times throughout each work day that are blocked off specifically for heads down work with minimal interruption. When systems like quiet hours are put in place, people can enjoy the “fun moments” that come up throughout the week, without feeling like productivity is lost.
- Moments of engagement: Plan meaningful moments of engagement for your team, and bring those moments to life! Ideate, systematize, and create structured or unstructured fun and don’t forget to add them to the calendar.
- Delegate structured fun to someone on the team: Have a certain team member or department that focuses on creating these structured moments of fun. This creates ownership and accountability, and quite frankly, ensures fun doesn’t slip through the cracks. At the same time, be sure the entire team knows they have the freedom to be a culture contributor: someone who enhances the team culture by initiating healthy team engagement. This means, each individual on the team should look for ways to add fun moments to the team, even if these are “unstructured.”
Fun is one of many elements that make up a healthy organizational culture. To learn more about this topic and many more, check out our Elevate Your Culture Resources. You’ll find everything from activity guides to leader manuals. We hope you enjoy!