To meet bail,
you need to learn how to incorporate fun into your workplace. We
don't need to learn how to have fun, because play is something that
we engaged in freely and unconsciously as a child; but we do need
to learn to give ourselves and others permission to have fun. Acting
"all grown-up" at work has become analogous to having no fun.
Too often fun
doesn’t see the light of day, not even the office’s fluorescent
light, because employers have sentenced fun to the bottom of their
list of priorities. “Business first, fun last," may be their mantra.
If you don't enjoy your job and co-workers are suffering from terminal
professionalism, will that create a highly productive, successful
environment? Taking our jobs seriously and ourselves lightly is
the key to making fun of work.
Fun at work
is taking the ordinary and making it, well, enjoyable. It is our
reward for commitment and hard work. Fun makes difficult situations
less stressful. The common ground of fun helps us bond with others.
Physiologically, our brain thrives on fun. Research indicates that
when we are having fun, we develop new neural cells in areas devoted
to learning and memory.1
Why does it
seem that fun and work are at two opposite ends of a continuum?
After all, they’ve always co-existed and even complemented one another.
Thousands of years ago, Stone Age women wove intricate, multicolored
patterns into their textiles and used fruit pits to create beaded
cloth. Even in the most subsistence economies, plain, undecorated
cloth did not satisfy human imaginations. These women learned and
challenged themselves to invent new patterns.2
But our thoughts on fun work changed after the fall of the Roman
the Roman Empire crumbled because of too much leisure and fun. Subsequent
societies debated and feared the impact of fun on their civilizations;
they felt emphasizing hard work would protect them from extinction.
In the sixteenth century, Puritan leader John Calvin scorned leisure,
declaring it a negative pastime. He preached that hard work was
the sole path to salvation. People began working hard and denying
themselves pleasures. His ideals evolved into what is known today
as the Puritan work ethic. This did not eliminate fun, but surrounded
it with a sense of guilt that we continue to feel today. Yet the
Puritans cannot be blamed entirely for our addiction to hard work
and no fun. The Industrial Revolution helped create a consumer-based
society where we began to "buy" fun instead of living it. This gets
A survey revealed
that shopping is the most popular "out-of-home-entertainment" on
weekday evenings. Four billion square feet of our land has been
converted into shopping centers; some 16 square feet for every American.3
Perhaps if more fun is found in the work place, fewer people will
be inclined to “buy”or seek out fun in the vicious work — spend
— consume cycle.
work is not the prescription for every organization. It is recommended
for companies that realize that the next major boost in productivity
will be people, not technology, driven.4
For companies that are ready to catapult into the next level of
business success, fun is the catalyst.
employees may not want to participate in such "childish" activities.
They must understand the difference between being "childlike" and
acting "childish." Childlike behavior can lead to creative thoughts
and actions, while childish behavior can interfere with productivity
in the workplace. Unfortunately, when people define a “right” and
“wrong” way to behave at work, they risk eliminating both the childlike
and childish behaviors.5
By tapping into
some childlike play, we will introduce fun into the work place and
discover a multitude of benefits for employees and employers.