A fun work environment can create a space where employees feel comfortable to bring up innovative ideas, spread positivity when working as a team, and communicate in a constructive way with those around them. Engaged and happy employees are more likely to be motivated and productive in their duties, translating into a rise in efficiency and output. We’ve procured 9 tips to try that will shift your environment towards fun.
Inject positivity It may seem like this isn’t as important as some of the other tips on this list. But keeping a positive attitude and not badmouthing anyone to anybody can help turn a toxic work environment around and make it feel more welcoming and fun. Consistently deliver praise and recognition to your employees. Be the beacon of positivity. Find humor in negative situations. Lead every meeting or discussion with accolades to something the team or an individual accomplished. Tell (and show) your employees how much you appreciate them and don’t badmouth (if we haven’t said it already).
Trade “forced fun” for organized fun “Force fun” can be things like icebreakers or mandatory attendance events. Don’t force anyone to participate in activities. Your team members have different personalities and different interests. Your extroverts will love to take part, but your introverts may want to stay in the background and observe. Any activities you create for your team, keep in mind that you may need to find ways to allow your introverts to participate in a way that’s comfortable for them. Maybe organize a trivia night where your team members can choose to help create the questions, organize the game, host, be a player, keep score, or come up with awards for the winners. Allowing your team to decide how they want to participate helps everyone to feel comfortable and involved. If a trivia night (after hours) is not an option for you and your team, consider scheduling a team extended lunch to include a trivia game. This opportunity embeds the fun in the workday.
Encourage quick, fun breaks The workday can be monotonous. Find quick fun ways to break it up. Send a funny (but appropriate) meme or gif, send a comic and ask for captions, do a quick stretch break with everyone, send out a movie quote and see if anyone knows what it’s from. The important thing is that if your team’s job duties are high pressure or time sensitive, you come up with something that doesn’t interrupt their work if they don’t have time. You could create a “Comedy Corner” in your breakroom or somewhere everyone has access to and post your memes or comics there, then your employees can look at them when they have time. Be sure to communicate expectations and clarification on workplace “appropriateness” for a comedy corner.
Organize outings Outings do not have to be extravagant. Think more happy hour, and less private suite at an NFL game. An outing should be something that gets everyone out of the work environment and into an environment where they may be more comfortable being themselves. Whatever you do, try your best to not talk about work. Ask (non-invasive) questions about people’s lives. Do they have pets? Have they travelled? What’s on their bucket list?
Learn about your team There is a fine line between knowing your team and knowing too much about your team. Being interested and empathetic to their situations is different than them feeling comfortable enough to come to you for a vent session about other team members. That being said, having empathy for your team’s personal situations is an important part of creating a work environment where people want to be. When individuals feel heard, valued and cared about, they tend to gravitate towards where they get that feeling. Part of a fun environment is being a place where your team feels a sense of belonging and wants to go.
Make goals and decide on rewards together Doing this as a team helps every team member to feel like they have skin in the game. It also heightens the excitement, commitment to and fun in reaching the goals. Teams work harder together if they are clear on the goal, especially if they helped to decide on the goal and the reward. Hold a team meeting to brainstorm around goals that will propel your team to meet organizational initiatives, ask your team to help narrow it down to the most important and decide on a timeline. The final piece is to engage your team in determining the reward, (make sure you are clear on parameters and limitations).
Host friendly challenges Challenges can be fun and can give employees a chance to showcase some of their hobbies or interests. Hold a chili cookoff, office door decorating (around Christmas), pumpkin carving (Halloween), baking contest, etc. Your challenges can even center around your goals. If your team has a goal to get 6 new positive reviews on social media, create a challenge to see who can get personally named in a review by demonstrating stellar customer service or going above and beyond for clients.
Celebrate! Celebrate victories, goals being met, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc. Whether small or large, celebrate anything you can celebrate. Sometimes it can be as simple as acknowledging and congratulating. The important thing is that your employees know it was important enough for you to remember and important enough to recognize in front of the rest of the team.
Surprise your employees If you can, surprise your employees with tokens of appreciation. Bring in a balloon or coffee for someone that went above and beyond the day before. Bring coffee for the whole crew for no reason. Make appreciation cards and hand them out during a meeting. It’s easier than you think to surprise your employees and show a bit of appreciation.
You may already be doing some of the fun tips on this list, which means you are already on your way to being a fun office. The important thing to remember is that often little things are big things to your team, and especially in high-stress environments, creating “fun” can alleviate some of the stress and actually increase their productivity. Engaged, happy employees are hard-working employees.