Conventional wisdom would have you believe that “fun” and “workplace” don’t belong in the same sentence. This is the same conventional wisdom that seems to think that any level of frivolity doesn’t have a place if you’re a “real business” doing serious work or creating serious products for your customers.
At the risk of losing our reputation for unconventional thinking, conventional wisdom has a bit of a point here, and here’s why.
We’re sure you’ve seen a lot of “fun” environments where people have their pets join them in the office, dress-down or dress-up days, games, cookouts, turkey bowling (don’t ask) or even scooters in the office. While that can be a whole lot of momentary fun, it’s only “surface” fun, allowing you and your employees to take a little vacation from the actual purpose of being there: the greatness of the work you’re doing.
Some of our favorite companies have a lot of fun in their workplaces, but there’s a difference between fun for the sake of fun,
and the joy of great work.
Have Fun at Work or Have Fun Doing the Work?
Great companies with clear vision and purpose, sound communication and trust in employees develop great cultures where employees not only have fun at work, but have fun doing the work.
The key word is culture, and culture (surprise, surprise) takes work. Companies with a great culture are likely to be the healthiest and, therefore, the most successful. But what defines success? While revenues are acutely important, success takes many forms. Employee retention, ability to hire, word of mouth from customers and employees, reputation in the community—all these things define the success of a company, a company that has fun doing the work.
A Different Kind of Fun
When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work—just ask any entrepreneur. When your employees love what they do, their days fly by, they are happy in their work, and productivity becomes the new normal.
But aside from feeling good about the contributions made to the company and the team, there’s an even more defining by-product for employees: the personal good feeling in knowing their work was not only great, but respected, and thus a great fit for both them and the company.
That’s what keeps employees coming back for more. It’s a totally different kind of fun. It’s the kind of fun you can’t put a value on or buy. It’s the kind of fun where the culture of your organization is king.
For the companies that figure out how to have fun doing the work, embracing it, living it and determining their course by it, fun comes naturally though great work and culture, and success is just another fun day ahead. How fun is that?