Add Some Fun to the Workplace


Ensuring a fun office environment can improve employee retention by letting employees know that you value their efforts.Businesses have the potential to perform their best when employees enjoy going to work. Ensuring a fun office environment can improve employee retention by letting employees know that you value their efforts. Boosting morale, however, doesn’t have to be a large or costly task; small changes can easily transform the office into a place where people thrive both professionally and personally.

Jody Urquhart, author of All Work & No Say, has several tips for identifying and improving office morale. First, Urquhart recommends taking a look around your workplace: do you regularly see people laughing or smiling at work? Does your organization have fun activities at least once a month? Are managers often optimistic and smiling? If you easily answer “no” to these questions, consider an office makeover. Urquhart offers more than 30 ideas for having fun at work, from passing out homemade cookies to hosting theme days where everyone dresses up. Other fun proposals include stocking the break room with toys such as Silly Putty and foam darts.

In 2001, The New York Times published a piece by Hubert B. Herring entitled “Nurturing Your Company’s Inner Child: Let There Be Fun!”In the article, Herring investigates the importance of creating a positive work environment. He references Dave Hemsath, author of 301 More Ways to Have Fun at Work, who encourages “kickball lunches” and a lighthearted game called “Toss Your Boss.” Managers and other office bosses who have fun, Hemsath argues, will retain employees in the long run: “Toxic leaders can poison the energy, creativity and, ultimately, the productivity from any organization.’”

Office parties can be a welcome interruption during a long week as well as a chance for employees to get to know each other better. Instead of waiting until the holiday season to celebrate, however, give your employees events to look forward to year-round. Monster.com’s HRPeople (www.hrpeople.monster.com) offers a long list of ideas for your next gathering. Host a Wii tournament or send staff on a scavenger hunt. Potlucks are also a great way to get everyone involved. Many office parties can be inexpensive, so you won’t have to break your budget while planning a fun afternoon.

Get input from your employees and make them a part of the planning process. Having a “fun committee” may also help organize better events. Whether you start a monthly tradition or institute weekly afternoon gatherings, small changes can make the office a happier, healthier place.

 

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