There are 3 ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and smarter:
- Threaten them.
- Pay them lots of money.
- Make their work fun.
In today’s high-pressure workplace, threatening people serves only to increase stress, reduce productivity & has not been effective. Paying them lots of money (even if you can afford it) has only shown the short-term success. Only number three, having an enjoyable workplace, has a track record of effecting real change. It is time managers learned how to create an atmosphere that is challenging, creative and fun for employees as well as for themselves.
HOW FUN IS PRODUCTIVE
Imagine a work world where people love their work environment, and they are calm, stress-free and happy all day long. People who are in good spirits are more likely to be productive. Happy employees 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 keys to the successful operation of organizations today. In stimulating environments, employees enjoy their time at work and they will also excel at work. Attracting customers is easier in an environment of hospitality.
Happy people are generally optimistic & look for opportunities in any challenge that comes their way and work that much harder to deliver. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits.
How to Create a Fun Work Environment
- Don’t be serious.
It’s possible to take yourself lightly and still be competent and productive.
- Define what fun is in your workplace and what it is not.
- Organize a committee for dreaming up fun stuff to do
- Add fun to meetings.
Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball, and hoop, or party blowers. Start a meeting with a humorous story or joke.
Create a Joke Board or a Humor Newsletter. Look for tools to disseminate fun and funny things daily.
- Let clients in on the fun
Do something just for fun (organize fun customer events, dress for fun, share funny things with customers) and give employees tools to create a fun relationship with customers (stickers, candy for children, dog biscuits for dogs, humorous buttons with the company logo). This makes work more fun for employees and it strengthens the relationship with customers. Dick Snow of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream says, “We believe that we’re in the entertainment business and selling ice cream is just a part of what we do. In our stores, the counter is our stage and the customers are our audiences.” Disneyland has the same kind of approach. Employees are part of an entertainment experience, and they aren’t just doing a job.”
Everyone must talk about something good at work. Take turns telling stories about the things that make work a joy. Each person should contribute ideas on how to make work more fun.
- Fun Rewards
Fun is not a reward for performance but can be a way to encourage employees to perform. For example, you could create “games” out of productive activity…who can motivate the most patients in a hospital to smile and say something funny to the head nurse. Playful and goal-oriented fun is best.
- Encourage Humour.
Funny things occur all the time, but if you are obsessed with left-brain analytical thought, you might find it hard to stop and respond. Natural spontaneous humor is a blessing. Stop and take a moment to give employees and customers an opportunity to see the fun in the event.
- Commit to being fun it will transform the workplace.
Start slowly with a few activities and communicate your desire to create a more relaxed workplace. Don’t expect things to turn around overnight.
- Encourage staff to leave work behind at the end of the day.
Employees shouldn’t be so consumed with work that it affects their family life and leisure activities. Find fun ways for employees to “unload” at the end of the day or week. Create a ritual like writing a “to do” list and posting it on the board. By doing this, you commit to not thinking about the things on the list until the next day.
- Encourage employees to develop their own style of having fun.
A nurse anesthetist at a hospital often sings to his patients to help them relax prior to surgery. Patients have appreciated this so much that they have told family and friends about the experience.
Remember that employees create fun in the workplace, not managers. It’s a manager’s job to orchestrate fun activities (and not get in the way of them).