"If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play."
- John Cleese
Work places are not necessarily fun places. Yet research has found that people who have fun at work are apt to be more productive and have a lower rate of absenteeism.
How to add some fun to a not-so-funny workplace is, of course, a challenge. A recent issue of Inc. magazine, however, gave some clues of how to do just that. Some of their suggestions and examples are below.
- First, identify people at your organization who share some common traits such as having attended the same college, bike to work, or perhaps have the same first and last names that begin with the same letter. Then, bring one group together at a time and see if they can determine the common denominator.
- Doing spring cleaning in your office? Make that fun too by offering prizes for the oldest or strangest or funniest items to emerge from the clutter. The most fossilized food gets a special prize.
- Post a cartoon, without itís caption, or photograph over the copier each day. Have employees add a funny caption on a piece of paper underneath the photo or cartoon.
- For a great social lubricant at meetings, or a way of getting to know new employees, ask everyone to write down two facts about themselves that are true and one that isnít. Then have people try and guess which is the fib.
- Hold a food fest. Have something like a cookie contest or barbecue rib-off. Ask employees to bring their favorites in those categories and have judges or customers select the best.
- One company, P. J. Salvage in Irvine, California, lightens up their staffís workload by providing tea and scones every afternoon at three.
- Another company, Sub Pop Records in Seattle, Washington, once hired a pet psychic for a day. Employees brought in their furry friends for an analysis session.
As the Inc. magazine article shows, there are lots of ways to add more fun to dull workdays. But youíve got to plan them. Sometimes fun takes a little bit of work.