The Business Case for FUN

Making work fun starts from the inside-out.

Fun at work?

As we begin the inevitable, yet awkward, return to the workplace, most teams are realizing hybrid, a unique blend of onsite and remote, is as defined as work will get for now.

That said, it’s important to recognize, the norms of the past may no longer be relevant in today’s hybrid work environment.

Whether we’re conscious or not, we’re all in search of new rules of engagement. Now is the time to involve everyone in efforts to re-invigorate and rebuild team chemistry.  Revisit the old rules, toss the tired, modify the useless and create new approaches to optimize work flow and to grow engagement. As a reminder, consistent yet simple gestures that show you care will help you grow trust and connection. Do not forget the importance of celebrating life’s milestones to show how much you care.

In addition, It’s time to have fun! Perhaps you should adopt the Work Hard, Play Hard mantra.

When you prioritize PLAY and FUN at work it’s a collective way to reward your team for their dedication and loyalty. Everyone knows a happy team is a productive team. When you play together, trust grows, confidence is boosted, performance is enhanced and people are more engaged.

Here are 10 reasons for prioritizing FUN at work.

Fun frees people to be authentic

1. People like to do business with people who have FUN.

People who don’t take themselves too seriously are more willing to be vulnerable and courageous. Vulnerability and courage show our humility and our humanity and both are contagious. They create ease and give others the freedom to bring their best selves to the team.

2. FUN levels the hierarchy.

Fun frees people to be authentic and drives out the fear associated with title, position power, and other hierarchical distinctions. When people come together in a fun atmosphere it reduces their inhibitions, opens the channels of communication and creates shared experiences that level the playing field.

3. FUN creates a spirit of unity.

In difficult times fun and celebration bring people together in a spirit of unity and hope.  We recently watched a group of business leaders play volleyball as an afternoon activity at a three-day conference.  It was refreshing to see how the fun and friendly competition drew people together and created unique opportunities for bonding.

Celebration fosters a sense of community

4. FUN adds to your story.

Fun and celebration give you a vehicle to tell the story of your accomplishments – Fun infuse the organization with spirit, pride and loyalty.  Tooting your own horn is always more welcomed when you entertain people and make them laugh.

5. CELEBRATION reveals shared values.

Celebration fosters a sense of community and provides a vehicle for communicating and honoring your history.  Through celebration people learn about the legacy they are charged with protecting and advancing. Memorable stories shared during and after celebrations will live in the minds of employees and reinforce their commitment to the values driving the business.

6. FUN stimulates creativity and innovation.

Fun grows our mentally flexibility. Fun and play invite us to shift our perspectives and look at things from new angles. Looking at things from new angles inspires curiosity and will lead to more innovative problem solving. The “HA, HA” leads to “AH HA!”

Fun contributes to the bottom line

7. FUN gives us the freedom to fail.

Play says, “dare to try.” Fun gives us the freedom to experiment, makes us more open to change and less resistant to new ideas. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’re more accepting of your own blunders and failed attempts as well as the mistakes of others.

8. FUN lowers attrition and absenteeism.

Put simply, people stay longer and get sick less in work places that are fun. When you examine the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training a new person to full productivity the direct costs can be huge. Then there are the indirect costs of a team having to form and reform every time someone leaves – lost productivity, unmet customer expectations, and burnout of others. Creating a fun work environment does, in fact, lower costs and contributes to the bottom line.

9. When work is FUN people bring more of themselves to it.

Today’s business environment requires commitment from every employee. That means you show up because you Want to, not because you HAVE to. When you are truly committed you bring 100% of who you are to the job.  In the most admired companies, commitment is their major point of differentiation.

Fun is healthy!

10. FUN has an ROI – fun lowers stress, tension and expenses!

The physicians tell us that 70% of all illnesses are stress-related. Stress-related claims are costing corporations millions of dollars a year.  The good news is that these costs can be reduced by creating an environment where people can lighten up, loosen up, and make work fun.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • Laughter gives the lungs a workout.  A hearty laugh enables us to take in six times more oxygen than when we talk.
  • Twenty seconds of good laughter causes the heart to pump more and increases blood circulation.  It gives the heart the same exercise as three minutes of hard rowing.
  • Muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure rise when we laugh—but they all drop to levels lower than before we started laughing.  This relaxation lasts up to 45 minutes.
  • Laughter stimulates the body’s immune system and helps us fight off infections and germs that can multiply inside us.
  • Laughter helps us reduce stress—a major contributor to six of the leading causes of death including heart disease and cancer.

Adapted from Humor Works by John Morreall, Ph.D.

It’s on YOU

Don’t wait for others to get the fun started at work.

Take charge – champion an initiative that will lead to a more fun work environment.

Pull a team together and ask, “Is it fun for our customers to do business with us? Is it fun to do business with each other? Are we capitalizing on our unique gifts and talents?”

Perhaps it’s worth hosting a team retreat packed with work hard and play hard experiences. Company adventure retreats create a powerful experience for establishing new rules of engagement, increased accountability and higher levels of performance.

Now is a great time to re-imagine how you engage together at work… Why not embrace the Work Hard/Play Hard mantra and watch your performance accelerate as your company culture advances.