“If you want creative workers you must give them enough time to play.” – John Cleese

Traditional wisdom states that work is not supposed to be fun …That’s why it’s called work …. If you see someone having fun at work, they’re slacking off!  However, research shows that this dismal view of work is completely wrong.

Nobody likes the idea of going to work if there’s no room for fun. An all-work-no-play office environment doesn’t make it easy for employees to feel totally comfortable. If employees aren’t comfortable at their job, they will not become engaged or go above and beyond at work. Especially if you want your employees to be creative and think outside the box.  It’s important to offer stimulating activities to mix things up.

Of all the ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and be smarter, making the workplace a fun place to be, is the most effective ! Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine!

In today's workplace, threatening people has not been effective. Interestingly, paying them lots of money has only shown short-term success. Instead, making their workplace enjoyable has effected real change. It is time when managers should learn how to create an atmosphere that is challenging, creative and fun for employees as well as for themselves, a work-world where people love their work environment and are calm, stress-free and happy all day.

People who are in good spirits are more likely to be productive. Their mental attitude produces increased oxygen, endorphins, and blood flow to the brain, which enables them to think more clearly and creatively. They are more relaxed, more accepting of others and more likely to share their sense of humor.

Laughter creates a bond that brings others together; people like to be with employees who are having fun. Creativity, intuition and flexibility are key to successful operation of organizations today. In stimulating environments, employees enjoy their time at work and they will also excel at their work. Attracting customers is easier in an environment of hospitality. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits.

A fun work environment is one in which formal and informal activities occur regularly that are designed to uplift people’s spirits and remind people of their value to their managers, their organization, and to each other.

Everyone likes to feel celebrated and be recognized for their accomplishments. It’s a great idea to not only acknowledge work related milestones, but personal ones as well! Birthdays are a must for office celebrations, but you can take note of many other life events. Try to have a pulse on your employee’s milestones, like weddings, births, and other big family moments. Whether there’s a cake, some decorations, or a simple ‘Congratulations!’, when employees know the company cares about their lives outside of the office, they become much more engaged.

Imagine waking up each morning looking forward to the fun that you’re going to have at work that day! This can become a reality. How?  By coming up with ways to have fun at work.

Here are some ideas to keep your employees motivated with the use of Humor, Games, Celebrations and Opportunities for self development or Recognition of Achievements and Milestones.

Monthly Party

Plan a party once a month that’s just for the sake of having fun! Try using different themes and encourage employees to get involved with the planning! It’s great to have something to look forward to and office parties are always a good opportunity for everyone to casually bond and let their hair down!

Affiliate Charity

Establishing Corporate Social Responsibility is important for a company’s image, but, it also helps with employee engagement.  Present some options and ask for employee opinions on what organization to choose. Make sure everyone is passionate about the cause you’ll be supporting and start collecting ideas for how to raise money for your charity. Whether it be employee donations or a fundraiser event, everyone can feel good about working with a company that gives back.

Workplace Awards

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Putting on a silly in-office awards ceremony is a great opportunity to show your wacky side. Think of some playful awards categories that don’t relate to actual work performance. Let everyone vote on the categories and plan the ceremony as an end of year or quarter event.

Theme days

Establishing theme days is an effective method of loosening people up and creating a humorous office environment. Some theme days can be wardrobe related, like ‘Friday dressing’ which is great for a company that requires formal office wear.

Special Drinks /Pub Night

The most typical way for someone to unwind after a long work week is to enjoy a drink and socialize with friends. Planning a weekly or monthly happy hour event at a bar helps to establish a fun work environment for relaxed socializing away from the office.

Office Wellness

We all know exercise and proper eating are important for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to implement this into their routine especially if they’re busy at work. Establishing outlets for exercise and healthy eating at work can dramatically boost office moral. Get some feedback from employees on any physical activities they like to do and have an optional class each week. This could be yoga, aerobics, or a team sport. Offering encouragement and support for employee’s daily health is a great way to boost trust and engagement!

Decorate the Workplace

Allowing employees to decorate their workspace is a great morale booster. Personalize the workspace with bright colours and things such as….

  • Family and pet photos
  • Toys and personalized mugs.
  • Fresh flowers and cards.
  • Build a Wall of Fame

Designate a wall in the office as ‘The Wall of Fame’. Decorate it with awards, thank-you notes from clients, news clippings of your company’s successes

Create a Humour Bulletin Board

Bring more humour into the workplace by starting a humour bulletin board. Make it a point to look for cartoons and jokes which poke fun at the circumstances that cause negativity or conflict in the office.

Start an Employee Picture Wall

Designate a wall of the office and fill it with employee photos. Take candid photos of employees at work and hand them up on the wall. You can also have themes. Have everyone bring in photos of their families and kids or of themselves on vacation.

Have Regular Meetings that are not work-related

Have meetings that are not business related.  Give your employees improvisation training … it helps them become more adaptable, improve their communications skills, become more self-confident and better at public speaking.

Celebrate Employees’ Birthdays

Celebrate birthdays of employees every month. Have cake and ice-cream … makes them feel part of a family!

Celebrate Employees’ Work Anniversaries

Mark each employee’s anniversary with the company by giving them a small gift or a gift card for the number of years they have been with the company.

Set Up a Game Room

Put games in the break room. Get a ping-pong table or set up a treadmill to encourage exercise. Scrabble or chessboard or even a jigsaw puzzle that people can work on during their coffee or lunch break.

Most people will spend one-third of their working lives at work. If you’re not having fun at work, you should definitely start looking for ways to change that.  The ideas presented above are a good place to start. 

There are endless possibilities for social activities at work. Once you’ve established a playful work environment, you’ll find your employees coming out of their shells, becoming more motivated, and engaging with both their work and employers much more. After all, everyone likes to have fun, so don’t be afraid to think out of the box and change your office for the better.