Is it possible to have fun…at work?
Most people spend more time at work than at any other single activity in their lives, but most people feel that they can’t—or shouldn’t—have fun in the workplace. It’s superficial, unprofessional, and counterproductive. It’s something that should exist only after work is completed. Or so people thought.
In Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Work, author Leslie Yerkes disposes of the myth that fun and work are mutually exclusive.
While most people do not know how to integrate the two, there are some people who love their jobs, who love to go to work, who get great value out of the experience and put great value into at the work experience at the same time.
In fact, organizations can use fun to increase employee and customer retention, motivate individuals and teams, and even improve overall productivity.
Yerkes details precisely how eleven different companies integrate fun into the normal course of business and shows how this translates into improved results across the board. Looking at places like Southwest Airlines, Pike Place Fish, and Prudential, she demonstrates eleven Principles of Fun/Work Fusion and offers thoughtful advice on how to put these principles into practice.
The principles are:
- Give permission to perform
- Challenge your bias
- Capitalize on the spontaneous
- Trust the process
- Value a diversity of fun styles
- Expand the boundaries
- Be authentic
- Be choiceful
- Hire good people and get out of their way
- Embrace expansive thinking and risk taking
The book contains an inventory/short quiz that can be taken for each of the principles to assess where the company stands currently.
Yerkes suggests that the people take the quiz again 90-days later to assess the amount of change that has occurred since the company started focusing on having fun at work.
For this revised second edition, Yerkes conducted follow-up interviews with all the companies in the first edition to see how they have managed to maintain a prosperous and fun environment in the face of recession, national tragedy, and natural disaster.
She was thrilled to discover that all of the original eleven companies have continued to thrive; that not one of them was “done in” by having a culture of “fun and work.” If anything, she believes it is the combination of business smarts and a positive culture that allowed each company to maintain their position, stay in business, and grow.
Yerkes concludes by identifying how these companies illustrate that fun integrated with work:
- Stimulates creativity and innovation
- Fosters commitment and ownership amongst all members of the organization
- Creates and secures the morale of their employees
- Impacts productivity positively
- Counters the effects of stress
- Acts as a vaccination for burnout
- Becomes the glue for social relationships
- Mends conflicts and heals hurts
- Stimulates renewal and activity
- Reduces absenteeism
- Creates stronger, deeper, longer-lasting customer relationships
Creating places where people love to work is about creating a culture where individuals can freely bring the best of their whole selves to work each day. So go ahead and have fun at work!