Some of the most productive teams spend time having fun together. They attend a Twins game, partake in a Happy Hour or join a recreational broom hockey league together. Is it their camaraderie that drives them to participate in social activities together or is their participation in social activities that drives their team productivity?
In his book, Partnerships: Leveraging Teamwork, Mike Hawkins writes, "When you do something fun together you form bonds with people. People who work together as well as spend time together outside of work develop bonds that help them come together as a team. They get to know each other and appreciate each other. They look forward to seeing each other at work and spending time together."
Why Does Fun Bond People?
Fun experiences created fond memories. The people who participate in those fun experiences not only remember the experience fondly but they also remember the people with whom they share the experience fondly as well. Imagine you're down by two runs in your softball game, there are runners on 3rd and 2nd base and your IT manager is up to bat. He hits a single, drives in both runners and your team wins this game. A guy you only knew as someone you called when you were locked out of your computer is now the Brian Dozier of your office.
Or what if you and your significant other went to Dakota Jazz Club for a night out and you looked up to see your receptionist as the lead vocalist in the band performing there that night? You would have a completely different image of your colleague than before the softball game or the night at The Dakota.
Once we have fondness for other people we have a vested interest in their well-being, their happiness and their success in both their work and personal lives.
Companies Who Value Fun
"Experts unanimously attest to the personnel-related benefits of fun: lower absenteeism, improved job-satisfaction ratings, higher productivity, better retention rates, even fewer customer-service problems," wrote David Stauffer in Harvard Management Update. "Fun is also linked to faster problem solving."
Perhaps that's why some of the world's leading companies consider "fun" one of their a core values. Here are just five such companies. Click on the company name to read about fun in their workplace.
When you're ready to have some fun
Give us a call at InTune TeamBuilding. We can set up a one-day team building event for you or we can set up weekly music lessons in your office for your employees. Let's add some fun to your workplace
Fans look at successful bands and think, "How cool would it be to do THAT for a living? Sure looks more fun that what I do."
I'll let you in on a little secret - Being a professional musician is a J-O-B. Playing the same song for the 1,000th time can be as mundane as any task you do in your job. It isn't the job itself that is fun -- it is how you approach it that makes it fun... or not! It's also how you define fun.
A band often dreams of playing a gig to a full US Bank Stadium crowd. That will be more fun than playing to the 200 people that it takes to fill 7th Street Entry. But after playing to the smaller audience they may discover it's actually more fun to interact with an audience than to be separated from them by big barriers and lots of space.
The truth is, both of these gigs can be fun -- it's all in how you mentally approach it. If you dread it, it will be a dreadful experience. If you embrace it, it will be a pleasant experience. Maybe not the "greatest day of your life" type pleasant, but the "let's see what comes of this" curiosity.
Definition of fun
Executives define fun in the workplace as delivering on the bottom line. Salespeople think it's fun to bag a big client. IT people find fun in solving a technical glitch. Customer service people think it's fun to turn an angry client into a satisfied client. In other words, it's "fun" to be successful.
Fun in the workplace also results from taking a mental break together during the day. If your team tends to eat at your desks every day, try a pot-luck every now and then. One of my favorite workplace pot lucks is a chili cook-off in the Fall. Or what about swapping lunches? Remember when you were a kid and you had a bologna sandwich and someone else had a PB&J and you'd swap? You only swapped with friends so, as silly as this sounds, swapping lunches brings you closer together.
A low-stress workplace is also more fun. Here are a few ways to reduce stress at work:
"Laughter releases endorphins (a chemical 10 times more powerful than the pain-relieving drug morphine) into the body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also relieves stress.
Humor also levels the playing field to create an atmosphere that encourages honest dialogue, open communication, and increased risk-taking. Creating more equality in power or control shows people respect and builds pride in their work." So says Dr. Norman Cousins.
Start a rock band.
OK, that's admittedly a shameless plug to get you to come to one of our teambuilding workshops.