I was pleased when Erin Palmer who works with HR via University Alliance/Villanova University's Online certification programs asked to do a guest post. When she suggested a post about having fun in the workplace, I couldn't resist. What follows is some good advice...
Have you ever noticed how laughter can help de-stress a serious situation? Any worries or tension magically dissolve and we begin to relax and refocus our energies in a healthier manner. Our work becomes more manageable and enjoyable. When you go out to a restaurant, don’t you notice the atmosphere and the service as much as the food? If you don’t enjoy the whole experience, you probably won’t go back to that establishment. In our personal lives, we expect the entire experience to be pleasurable, not just isolated parts. The same should go for the workplace.
Obviously, the office is not the same as a night on the town. However, since you spend so much of your life at work, why not enjoy it? Happy employees who enjoy their jobs and their co-workers will always be more productive than their sour counterparts who see work as simply a way to pay the bills. If your workplace needs a jump start on fun, try the following ideas:
- Get creative with your projects. Most of us agree that repetitive tasks can be tedious, so approach these in a new way. Play around with different methods of completing this type of work. Approach the task in new ways. This type of experimenting may actually improve your techniques since you are forcing yourself to stretch past your normal thought processes.
- Knowing exactly what each day will bring creates that awful feeling of being in a rut. Try something new whenever the opportunity arises, even (especially!) if takes you outside your comfort zone. Be on the lookout for chances to work on different projects or special assignments so you never feel like you are stuck in your job.
- Use a reward system. It’s common knowledge that being recognized for our successes, no matter how small, leads to higher job satisfaction. Whenever you accomplish something at work, find a way to reward yourself that will keep you motivated during the day. When your team has a big project, make sure to plan a celebration when it’s completed. The many hours spent on the project will be much more pleasant if everyone has something fun to look forward to when it’s over.
- Use the power of laughter to make your office a more pleasant place to work. The objective is to get the job done well, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to be miserable and serious! Take the time to talk and laugh with your co-workers, making sure to keep the humor appropriate, of course. Laughter has been proven to be one of the best stress relievers available.
- Build fun into the work day. Even on a tight budget, companies can come up with creative ways to add fun to the office. Something as simple as a monthly potluck can bring people together and build lasting professional relationships. Another idea is to leave the office for lunch as much as possible. The physical separation from your desk provides a necessary change of scenery, clears your head and re-energizes you for the second half of the work day.