Healing The Work Environment – Part III: Having Fun At Work

5 min read
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Let’s take a look at how important is to bring back some characteristics of the traditional work environment into Work 2.0.

Now that we’ve (hopefully) established that change is good and why we should embrace it, it’s time to take one more step forward!

Before going any further…

…as promised and showed in my previous Work Environment articles (part I, part II), here are some opinions from the Monitive Awesomenauts.

Question: Time to get funky! How important is to have fun at work ?

Luci: Fun at work? I’m all about fun at work. Someone said once “People are very good at doing what they love”. For me, I can’t quite love something if it’s not fun. Fun is my main ingredient whether is a personal relationship or a business. So on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d say fun is at 9.

Marcy: Relaxed people are more productive. So what better way to get relaxed do we know than the one through which we can have fun.

Alina: Fun is like salt and paper. The right amount can make you feel good, too much fun gives you stomach ache (from laughing).

Read the full interview. They’re a wild bunch!

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Fun at work

When I’m saying “fun at work” I don’t mean “let’s play pranks to others” or “wasting time doing things which are fun, but not work related”. Through “fun at work” I mean working in a relaxing manner, doing what you love to do, having pleasant and constructive conversations with colleagues (or even customers), and enjoying some good laughs.

Having fun while working can be highly productive and, when it comes to this, Work 2.0 has some dangerous tides – either we get swamped in the large amount of distractions that can be found on the Internet, either we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world so much that we’ll turn into savages.

The first menace will lead to procrastination, while the second one can kill our social skills (kind of ironic if you think about how many social networks are online… but this is an entire different story). The equation is pretty simple: social = community = communication = empathy = emotion), so without emotion there can’t be any social interaction. At work (regardless of the environment), a team is at its core a small society – a group of people associated with common goals and points of interest.

For understanding how important is to have fun while working, we must take a closer look upon how can people work harder, faster and smarter.

Basically there are four ways through which the working force can be motivated:

  1. threatening the people,
  2. paying them lots and lots of money,
  3. offering them additional benefits (like the chance to prove themselves or to upgrade their professional life),
  4. creating a fun environment.

While I’m a strong opposer of “threatening the people”, I strongly believe in offering additional benefits. But the most efficient approaches are the money and the fun. Although giving away lots of money can prove to be a very powerful way for motivating people, not everyone has the funds to do so. And that leaves us with the star of motivations: fun at work.

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A stress-free environment… who wouldn’t like that ? People who love what they’re doing, people who are smiling, even laughing, throughout the day, who are in their good spirits, will be more productive than in any other scenario. They’ll meet the job requirements and, even more, start to walk by themselves on the “additional benefits” path:

  • As soon as they’re feeling secure, by having a job which provides enough money to resolve their primary needs;
  • They’ll meet expectations by doing what they must do;
  • And soon they’ll start exceeding expectations by learning more and more everyday, by taking chances, and by expanding their work horizon.

All of the above can be the effects of a positive and stress-free work place.

From a physical-health point of view

Laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, protects your heart, and boosts your energy. Perhaps one of the best effects of laughter is the release of endorphins. This natural chemicals are created by our body through physical activity, excitement, pain, spicy food, love and sexual orgasm, laughter and other things. Endorphins are 10 times stronger than the pain-relieving drug morphine. When we’re laughing the body is relaxed, more exactly all the physical tension is relieved from the muscles and our positive state of mind increases.

Stress hormones decrease, the immune cells increase, blood flow increases… all of this by saying a sincere “Ha, ha, ha!”

From a mental-health point of view

When we laugh we’re experiencing joy, and we all know what that is and how we’re feeling when it happens. Stress decreases, anxiety is forgotten, fear is left behind and automatically our mood is improved.

Laughter is one of the most efficient solutions to conflicts. By using humour we can create a serene work environment, that encourages communication, honesty and initiative. Now say you don’t want the people you’re working with, to be in an ever-flowing positive vibe!

From a social point of view

When we laugh, we connect. You can’t sincerely laugh with people who are not on your best side (or you on theirs). Through happy experiences our relationships are strengthened, we feel more attracted one to another, and groups bond quicker and solidly.

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Now…

…I’m not saying that we must laugh all day long, turning the workplace into a carnival. When you think about it, the important aspect is the good mood – smile, laugh, help each other, forget mistakes, and in your darkest hour approach any issue with positive thoughts, knowing that beside you is your second family – your team.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Not only that by having fun at work, people are more relaxed, get more creative, and work more efficient, but if the customers get treated with the same attitude, the brand will only have to gain treats and goodies in its bag.

Interesting read?

About Ciprian Irimies

Ciprian is an UX Ninja, but what really makes him stand out of a crowd is the desire to venture into the unknown, to boldly face new challenges and the lack of hair on his head.