“An acceptable level of fun is rarely defined when companies speak of their corporate culture,” Adam Gale writes for Management Today.
But a company’s attitude to workplace fun is “constantly role-modelled.”
“You can see from the senior leadership how long it’s okay to spend chatting in the kitchen (five minutes is fine; an hour probably not) or how far non-work conversation or jokes at your desk are okay,” Gale writes.
Workplace fun isn’t just for downtime on the job.
It’s also role-modelled in leadership’s attitude toward the work itself and toward the more mundane aspects of workplace life, like onboarding, compliance paperwork, health benefits and safety education.
“The pre-ghost Scrooges out there may grumble that work is simply not supposed to be fun,” Gale writes. But, “as with many things, it’s about finding a healthy balance,” and that takes good management.
Read on for ideas on celebrating workplace fun wherever it’s needed — on International Day of Awesomeness, or any day.
In Honor of International Day of Awesomeness: 3 Awesome (and Worthwhile!) Ideas for Engaging Workplace Fun
Workplace fun is more than in-office ping pong tables and Casual Fridays. In fact, the best kind of workplace fun is incorporated right into everyday activities.
Take it from BOSS magazine:
“Making happiness in the workplace a part of your everyday life is the answer to any concern or problem. When life gets tough, laughter begins. We all have humor inside of us, and it’s healthy to use it in a variety of ways. When you really deconstruct some things in your life that may be issues or annoyances, you can creatively come at them with laughter, and your whole outlook changes. Mentally and physically, the benefits of laughter are many. Laughter is a proven stress-reducer, lowering the level of stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). It also boosts the immune system.”
One prime example? Google.
Google manages to have extremely low turnover and be successful, innovative and profitable because it embraces workplace fun. Again from BOSS magazine:
“The company’s whole business platform is based on being a fun place to work. Its created a colorful environment and incorporated games for their staff to play. Why? Because Google knows scientifically that happiness in the workplace is a medicine to help you be more productive.”
You may be thinking, “But my company isn’t headquartered in a popular coastal city, and our work isn’t in a high-powered Silicon Valley industry.”
That doesn’t matter.
What matters most to employees is a sense of belonging, purpose and appreciation, no matter your industry or location.
With these goals in mind, here are three worthwhile areas in which to engage workplace fun:
1) Wellness Programming
There’s a serious disconnect between employees and employers on wellness. According to HR Dive, 62 percent of employers say they provide wellness programs, but only 40 percent of employees say their organizations offer them. Employers are also overestimating the effectiveness of their wellness programming: an earlier study showed that 81 percent of employers said their wellness programs were meeting workers’ needs, but 61 percent of employees disagreed.
Yikes. What’s missing? Better communication and … fun! Wellness should be fun. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage employees: on-site fitness classes, exercise challenges with “Thank You” participation awards, healthy cooking classes, afterwork or lunch-hour sports, etc.
2) Benefits Education
Sometimes the opportunity for fun is less apparent. Just watch the eyes glaze over at an info session on employee financial and health insurance benefits. The topic of benefits is dry and confusing to most people, plus it usually involves boring statistics and stacks of intimidating paperwork.
But injecting a little humor and fun into benefits education can make all the difference in helping employees understand and even enjoy the process. Follow these tips from The Balance on how to make your employee benefits presentations fun.
3) Employee Appreciation
By far the easiest, fastest way to engage employees is with appreciation. And there’s no reason it shouldn’t be fun, too! Don’t save up all your appreciation for the formal end-of-year awards banquet. Here are some simple ways to make gratitude an everyday occurrence:
- Say “Thank You” for a job well done.
- Mark employee birthdays.
- Celebrate a silly holiday, like International Day of Awesomeness.
- Bring in break-room treats — and actually take a break together to enjoy them.
- Share small gifts of appreciation. Don’t forget to reward the little everyday wins that otherwise might fall through the cracks.
Looking for other ways to celebrate employee appreciation for International Day of Awesomeness but don’t have a lot of time to plan? Check out our recent blog post, “10 Last-Minute Employee Appreciation Ideas.”
Download Your Employee Celebration Calendar
Invigorate your employee recognition planning! Download gThankYou’s FREE “Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” today and start building an everyday culture of appreciation that employees will love.
We’ve updated our annual day-to-day appreciation calendar with lots of new topics, new case studies and even more holidays and reasons to celebrate! As in previous years, the gThankYou calendar is jam-packed with insights into the latest HR trends, how-to tutorials for engaging and thanking employees, case studies to inspire you, examples of holidays to celebrate each month, and research statistics to help you make the business case for appreciation.
Download yours FREE today!
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