Everybody’s talking about it—from the bigwigs at research institutions like MIT and London Business School to the quirky startup that’s in it to win it in the war for talent—it’s absolutely critical to have fun at work. Even more importantly, it’s essential to laugh at work. Every giggle and guffaw brings business benefits, from relieving stress to boosting engagement and igniting creativity and collaboration. All of this ensures we’re equipped to think outside the box and work together when challenges arise. Finding moments for play or release in the middle of the daily grind can feel…well...dang near impossible some days. But it doesn’t have to. Here are three of our favorite ways to incorporate fun—and some humor—into the workplace:
- Celebrate and appreciate. We know you appreciate your team and want to celebrate their successes, but are you doing it in a way that’s visible and/or tangible? We know we probably sound like a broken record at this point, but recognition is one of the key ingredients in increased engagement. Weekly high-five emails are a great way to build a habit of celebration and appreciation, but don’t be afraid to think more creatively! Forbes contributor Christine Comaford writes that she once worked with a team took old-time western photos—awesome cowboy costumes and all—and then created Wanted posters, which became a fun twist on that old school superlative exercise. Employees were wanted by the law for everything from eating all the break room snacks to using up all of the printer ink. According to Comaford, “Everyone had a great time deciding what their wanted sign would say and how much their bounty cost.”
- Get out of your head. Learning how to stop your thoughts can help you stop the world and, ultimately, get stuff done. Try having a monthly event where your team gathers to try a new mindfulness practice like meditation or yoga—there are even laughter yoga classes, if you really want to let loose!
- “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun…” We’ve found that Mary Poppins’ advice—especially this nugget of wisdom—never lets us down. Have you tried turning part of your day-to-day into a game or competition? Whether it’s a race to see who can get a certain task done, hosting an annual gingerbread-building competition, or transforming your office into a mini golf course with obstacles like the copy machine or recycling center, investing in team-building fun doesn’t have to be a burden on your budget. Simply taking the time to model laughter and relaxation for your team can empower them to let go of any inhibitions and unleash their creativity at work.