Creating FUN at Work!

by Leslie Yerkes
(Cleveland, OH, USA)

Creating FUN at Work
By Leslie Yerkes

We all know that fun at work is a good thing. Fun and high performance can actually go hand in hand. A fun workplace can create higher morale, more energy and enthusiasm, stronger teams, better customer service, higher attendance, better retention, fewer grievances or complaints, and greater job satisfaction.

The question is not whether or not we should have fun at work, but rather how do we create even more of it? Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes, authors of "301 Ways to Have Fun at Work" recommend 12 steps to creating more fun at work.

1. Start with yourself. People will follow your example; if you're not having fun, why would anybody else?
2. Inspire fun. Encourage participation, be the catalyst, and lead the way.
3. Create an environment that encourages fun.
4. Celebrate the benefits of fun.
5. Eliminate boundaries and obstacles that inhibit fun.
6. Look for the humor in your situation. Learn to laugh at yourself.
7. Follow your intuition; be spontaneous. Don't wait for the "perfect moment" to have fun in this moment.
8. Don't postpone your fun. Make it a daily habit.
9. Make fun inclusive.
10. Smile. And laugh a lot. Nothing sets the tone for fun like smiles and laughter.
11. Become know as "fun-loving." Focus on creating fun in everything you do.
12. Put fun into action. Don't wait; even small changes can have big results.

Not everyone has fun in the same way and not every way of having fun is appropriate or possible in every area. The key is to explore, experiment, and find authentic ways that work for you and your team to have even more fun.

People want to contribute, make a difference, learn, advance, and be part of a successful team and a successful company. Creating a fun work place is really about shaping the culture of the team. Fun is not just an event; it's the way people interact with each other every day.

People bond when they have fun together. Remember, fun at work is not about goofing off, it's about working hard, creating great results, and enjoying it.

Some Additional Ideas:
1.Smile. It's quick, easy, effective, and contagious.
2.Celebrate the little accomplishments as well as the big ones.
3.Celebrate anniversaries of when people joined the team or people's birthdays.
4.Get the team together for informal hallway meetings to celebrate fresh successes.
5.Get out of the office for lunch, an off-site meeting, or team activity.
6.Ask, "How can we have even more fun while doing this?"
7.Encourage people to find ways to have fun.
8.Discuss with the team how creating more fun can be a competitive advantage.
9.Recognize the strengths that each person on the team brings.
10.Have the team "adopt" a civic activity or cause for the year.
11.Give authentic appreciation for people's efforts and results.
12.It's better to do little things ongoing than do a huge event that turns into the fad of the month and is never done again.
13.Seek and value people's input.
14.Be generous with sincere compliments.
15.Be authentic. Few things are less fun than pretending to have fun. If it feels "tacked on" or forced, it won't be fun.
Leslie Yerkes has been advancing the cause of positive organizational culture for over twenty years, ever since she started The Catalyst Consulting Group with a mission to do "consulting with a conscience." Her interests are many but her vision for a workplace emboldened by empowered, enthusiastic employees and managers is singular.

Author of five books, including three for Berrett-Koehler, Leslie tends to run with her enthusiasms only after testing their viability in the rubber-meets-the-road environments of the organizations she consults with, be they small passionate non-profits or global Fortune 50 conglomerates. She nailed "fun at work" with co-author Dave Helmsath way back in 1997, and revisited the concept with the essential Fun Works, Creating Placers Where People Love to Work, in 2001.

Contact Leslie via email,

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