Fun in the workplace doesn’t get the credit it deserves. That’s why we’re celebrating National Fun at Work Day this Saturday, Jan. 28!
Fun at work — besides being, well, fun — is what sustains us and keeps us motivated in our jobs long-term.
Yet not enough employers and employees take fun seriously, according to a New York Times article this week by Ayelet Fishbach, “In Choosing a Job, Focus on the Fun.” Fishbach is a professor of behavioral science and marketing at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Fun is serious business, Fishbach argues. It drives retention, productivity and overall happiness.
Oddly enough, we’re naturally wired to de-prioritize future workplace fun, according to Fishbach. It’s a “basic insight from behavioral science” that people care about the present mainly in the present and not in advance.
“We fail to realize that the person we are in the present — the one who values intrinsic benefits — is awfully similar to the person we will be in the future,” she writes.
So jobseekers tend to overestimate the value of good pay and underestimate the value of whether they’ll actually enjoy the work.
“When envisioning themselves in the future, [employees] predicted that they would almost solely be driven by delayed benefits like salaries,” Fishbach writes.
The result? Two out of three working Americans are disengaged, according to Gallup. It isn’t that financial benefits aren’t important, Fishbach writes, but nobody wins when money is prioritized over other factors like meaning, impact and day-to-day appreciation.
HR departments in planning mode do best to recognize the power of fun and help employees engage in their work on a daily basis.
Read on to find out why celebrating National Fun at Work Day matters and tips for prioritizing workplace fun in 2017!
National Fun at Work Day: Grow It, Celebrate It
What is fun, anyway? Parties and games are fun, but they’re not the only kind of fun.
Fun at work is about the simple, day-to-day pleasures of performing a job well, working with others and feeling appreciated.
Fishbach has three recommendations for increasing fun at work.
First, hire the right people for the job. Unless employees find small pleasures in their daily routine, they won’t stick around. Be very explicit about what the work involves. Explaining that a position requires hours of filing and data entry every day might scare off some applicants — but they’re not right for the job, anyway. You want the people who get a small thrill from organizing information quickly and efficiently.
Secondly, provide meaningful benefits that make work “enjoyable in the moment.” Focus on expressing gratitude and on everyday celebrations that recognize small wins. Planning is key! Schedule social gatherings, exercise opportunities, volunteer activities and work-related games. Don’t let fun lose priority.
(Need a little guidance? Download gThankYou’s 2017 Employee Celebration Calendar for great workplace holidays, expert advice and recognition case studies.)
Lastly, recognize and highlight existing benefits with employees. Engage employees in the positive aspects of their tasks. Are employees aware of the impact their work has? “Many years of research have taught us that people feel energized when the means and the ends collide; that is, when the process of doing something becomes the goal of doing it,” Fishbach writes.
Now that you know how workplace fun grows, celebrate it! Invite employees to join in marking National Fun at Work Day this Saturday, Jan. 28.
Keep it low-key, if you want — take your team out for lunch, bring balloons and bagels in for breakfast, schedule an hour to play games together with small gifts as prizes.
Most importantly, National Fun at Work Day is a conversation starter. Even though fun work is what we all want, it isn’t something we often stop to think about or discuss with others.
Ask your team, “What are the simple pleasures of your work day? What makes your job fun?”
These aren’t conversations we normally have we each other. Open up a dialogue and listen. What you hear may surprise you — and give you ideas for improving your workplace culture and fostering that atmosphere of fun.
Download Your FREE 2017 Employee Recognition Calendar
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
Download the gThankYou 2017 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar for resources and advice to help your organization thrive in the next twelve months. Our calendar guide gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free!
Here’s to a happier workplace in 2017!
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