Work and fun are not two words that one would often use in the same sentence. Even those who love what they do for a living are still aware that work and fun are usually two opposite things that don’t typically meet under the same roof. That’s extremely unfortunate because there are plenty of studies showing that fun and high productivity go hand in hand. A happy workplace increases employee motivation and boosts long-term performance, which is exactly what every entrepreneur aims for.
On the other hand, you have to remember that too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. If the office turns into a party venue every day, no one will ever get anything done, and the happy workplace that you’ve created can backfire.
So, as a business owner, it’s important to find a balance when trying to create a laid-back and fun work environment. As long as you keep things within reasonable limits, it is very much possible to mix fun and work, and these strategies will prove just how you can achieve that.
Organize team activities
The concept of teambuilding is anything but new – it’s a well-known fact that achieving goals is a lot easier when you bring people together and encourage them to work as a team. Unfortunately, these days teambuilding activities are mostly associated with the corporate environment and have gotten a pretty bad reputation for being either too dull or too forced for people to actually enjoy them.
However, despite what some might think, organizing team activities remains one of the best ways to create a positive work environment, as long as everyone keeps an open mind and is willing to give these events a try. They might be reluctant at first or think it’s absolutely ridiculous and awkward to engage in these types of activities with colleagues, but after they’ll go on their first trip together or fight in their first paintball war, they’ll most likely change their minds.
Celebrate every victory
It’s no secret that people perform better when their efforts are appreciated and their achievements are acknowledged. This gives them the motivation to keep up the good work and even improve their skills and abilities in their specific area of practice. That’s why celebrations should become normality in every company.
This doesn’t mean you should wait for one of your employees to save the company from a major crisis. Every success and accomplishment should be properly rewarded, so your employees see that you care. It’s up to you to decide how you want to mark these celebrations, but a small office party, a nice gift, or, if you want to be a bit extra, taking everyone out for a celebratory dinner are usually great ideas.
Create a comfortable office space
Part of turning the office into a fun and happy place has to do with the actual space where your employees perform their daily tasks. As you may already know, the spaces we inhabit have a direct influence on our mood, behaviour, and wellbeing, and that’s just as true when it comes to work settings. It’s one thing to spend half your day working in a cluttered and dark office environment and another to have a perfectly organized and airy place where you can go about your work.
When your employees step inside the office they should feel relaxed and comfortable. That’s why you need to focus on every element that goes into creating the perfect workspace, from the equipment your team members use to the meeting tables, the lighting fixtures, the décor items, and the colour palette you choose for every room.
Have a designated area for fun activities
Speaking of creating fun and relaxing spaces, if you have some extra room in your building, you might want to use it for something other than storing boxes and other office-related items. How about giving your employees their very own recreation corner, where they can meet up, have a chat, grab a snack, watch TV and even play some games?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s important to set clear boundaries that allow your employees to have fun without disputing their productivity in any way. That’s why having a separate space where workers can relax and unwind for a while is the best way to combine both worlds and still maintain a clear separation between them.
Encourage feedback and participation
Giving employees the possibility to take regular breaks, and creating a comfortable office space can positively impact productivity levels, but not even the most beautifully decorated office nor the most comfortable meeting chairs will make a difference if the work environment is toxic and doesn’t support clear communication and collaboration.
In certain settings, random chat and gossip often get mistaken for socialising and having fun. Obviously, that’s not the kind of culture you want to cultivate in your company. You should strive to create an environment where all ideas are welcome and everyone feels free to provide feedback, in an open and honest manner. It’s important to give employees the possibility to share their thoughts on the things that affect them and act upon the feedback they provide.
Create a pet-friendly office
Chances are most of your employees are also proud pet parents, and they love to talk about their furry friends. So why not give them the chance to bring their pets with them every once in a while? Of course, you should set up some strict regulations in this regard, as you don’t want to transform the workplace into a zoo and have everyone play with their pet instead of taking care of their tasks. But allowing pets in the office would be a great way to reduce stress and increase team cohesion.
As you can see, fun and work are not mutually exclusive. With the right approach, you can create a work environment where people can have fun and maintain high productivity levels at the same time.