Mary Poppins said it best: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”
And while she was trying to encourage her young charges to take their medicine, the sentiment should apply in today’s jobs today, whether that means implementing the internet of things in the retail sector or providing QA usability testing.
Having fun at work isn’t just a nice thing to aim for (or sing about) – it’s important for the best possible business outcomes.
Why is fun at work important?
Before we dig into the science of why fun at work is important, let’s just consider this practice for a moment:
Imagine your top IT talent is headed through the doors of your business during a pivotal technology transformation. She knows she’s headed into a long day working with a software development partner, and it’s likely to be a day of few breaks, no personal connection, and certainly no banter. After all, this is a serious business, and fun has no place here.
Now, imagine that the same talented IT professional is headed through the doors of your business – still a long day ahead with a pivotal technology transformation underway. But this time, she knows her outsourced software support encourages fun just as much as your business leaders do, and is already planning the joke she’ll share to cut through the tension at the Agile project management stand up.
Which scenario would you prefer?
Introducing fun into the workday doesn’t eliminate the stress of deadlines or reduce the workload, but it can change the business environment in profound ways.
Research backs up a gut reaction that a little fun can go a long way. Over the past few decades, researchers have concluded that fun at work can be linked to several critical factors that influence the bottom line. This includes:
- Increased productivity
- Increased motivation
- Reduced stress
- Improved job satisfaction
- Better organizational citizenship
In a study by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, happier employers were shown to be more productive by 12% on average, and up to 20% in some cases – a staggering difference on a national scale.
Cultivating a business environment that embraces fun can help manage employee emotions, as well as build better relationships and produce stronger teamwork – all changes that may be most valuable during the most pivotal times at a business.
Incorporating fun at work also improves general employee happiness, which can reduce heart rate variability, ultimately cutting down on some of the negative effects of stress and anxiety and reducing the risk of disease. Healthier employees are absent less often, which also cuts down on the money and time costs associated with unexpected absenteeism in business. This translates to cold hard cash, as the CDC Foundation estimates absenteeism costs employers an estimated $1,685 per employee.
Finally, just as children learn through play, adults can innovate through play, sparking creative development when they are having fun and injecting a general buzz of creativity into the workplace that can be infectious.
Bringing the fun to your workplace
Whether every employee in your business is sitting on the same floor, or your team is dispersed across multiple offices and IT outsourcing services companies, you can encourage your business leaders to take these easy steps – no Mary Poppins magic required.
- Give casual Friday a boost with a mandatory team break in the afternoon. No, we’re not talking about a team meeting by another name, but a real break: even if it’s just 15 minutes of relaxing together, you can encourage team members to interact on a personal level.
- Get competitive. Some friendly competition can lighten things up even in the tensest times – even better if you can offer a small reward. Set up a Summer Olympics bracket or offer a monthly challenge that also improves QA, and watch employee engagement ramp up.
- Celebrate the victories. Prioritize time spent celebrating wins, whether that’s excellent client feedback or a company milestone. Although a company-sponsored party is a sure win, even some public praise from a key business leader can provide the recognition employees need to feel motivated.
- Create challenges. Encourage employees to take on challenges or problem-solving exercises as part of a competition or innovation that not only rewards the winner and encourages innovation, but could also inject new ideas into the business.
- Share the fun. Let your customers or other office locations join the fun by sharing a quick recap on social media. Not only does this tell the industry your business places a premium on fun and drive the larger conversation about introducing fun, but it might also attract top talent looking for a better work environment.
Although our Genies don’t carry bottomless bags like Mary Poppins, they do introduce fun into the workplace along with their serious expertise. Whether we’re shouting out employees on our internal Slack channels or introducing Genies with fun facts on social media, we know it’s the people who make our business great – and fun. Learn more about why TechGenies is NOT some typical outsourcing company by visiting www.techgenies.com or reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you – and learn a fun fact about your business along the way.