The role of fun in the 21st century workplace

Work has long been synonymous with terms like toil, slog and the daily grind.

However, in recent years there has been a shift in how we think about work. In an

effort to attract and retain top talent, many organisations have implemented a

positive psychology approach. In other words, they have focused their efforts on

creating workplaces that are enjoyable as well as productive. According to S. C. H.

Chan, a fun work environment boosts wellbeing among employees and helps to

nurture creativity, enthusiasm, satisfaction and communication among workers. All of

this is not only good news for employees, it’s also positive for business’ balance

sheets, as happy workers are thought to be more committed.

Twenty-first century businesses are incorporating fun into their workplaces in a range

of ways. Here are just three easy-to-implement things they are doing to make

working life more enjoyable:

Providing facilities for relaxation and entertainment

Many workers are expected to put in long hours on occasion to ensure that tasks are

completed on time and to a certain standard. However, hard work and long hours

can put employee wellbeing in jeopardy. To encourage staff to de-stress, re-energise

and develop bonds with colleagues, many workplaces have replaced the traditional

staff room with its more exciting cousin, the breakout room. Housing everything from

games consoles, to table tennis equipment, to pool tables, these areas are intended

to get employees relaxing and interacting and are usually filled with furniture that’s

designed to inspire creativity, encourage communication and help workers unwind.

To create a fun breakout room in your office, why not ask your employees what kind

of games and activities they’d like to have access to. For design inspiration, sites like

Pinterest and Calibre should be able to help.

Setting up social committees

There’s nothing worse than being at a stuffy work social where everyone wishes they

were somewhere else. Instead of holding another poorly attended, dreary cheese-

and-wine evening, why not set up a social committee to encourage staff to take more

control of events organisation? Many workplaces are creating these panels to allow

workers to generate their own ideas for nights out, charity events and the like.

Whether it’s paintballing on a Saturday morning or holding a baking competition on a

Friday afternoon, by allowing staff have a say, you can be more confident that

workers will actually want to get involved in the activities that are organised. The

potential result - an empowered, engaged and bonded workforce.

Remember to listen to staff

In your quest to create a fun work environment, it’s a good idea to consider your

workers’ points-of-view. After all, they are the people you are trying to please. Have

an open door policy in place so they can come to you with suggestions on ways to

improve satisfaction and wellbeing at work and consult with them before making final

decisions. This kind of attentiveness and transparency can pay off in loyalty, respect

and dedication.