Fun at the Workplace

By: S.C. Mishra

Is the absenteeism rate in your workplace rising constantly? Are tediousness and boredom, the two words which define your office environment? Does every morning appear to be as dull as a Monday morning? Is their a lack of laughter in your office? Once a famous Danish born comedian, Victor Borge said that laughter is the shortest distance between two people. So, probably it is time to reduce the distance between you and your employees by making your office an exciting place and adding some fun and humor to it.

There was a time when while looking for jobs in India such factors like employee friendliness or fun at workplace were not kept in mind but nowadays people give a lot of importance to workplace environment. Sure, work is supposed to be serious business. No compromises should be made on the professional front. Punctuality must be maintained and deadlines should be set and met. Nevertheless it is important to remember that most of us spend more than half of our day in the workplace. Hence, it is extremely important to ensure that working is a fun process and not a boring one. How often an employee feels like going to work and giving it his best shot is directly proportional to how much fun he/she has in the office. A pleasant work environment and friendly relations between colleagues are very essential working conditions. Note that humor and fun at the workplace ensures better productivity and not lesser productivity.

Victor Hugo states that Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. So, remember that happy and smiling employees are loyal and productive employees. To ensure that your workplace is a happy place, you can take a number of steps.

Freedom is a very important requisite for happiness. The dress code in your office can be formal, but you must allow your employees to be expressive. Allowing them to dress casually once a week (probably on a Friday) will make them feel comfortable. Similarly, encourage your employees to be experimental and creative when it comes to their work stations. Stickers, humorous quotes, photographs- anything that makes the workstation attractive and cheerful should be encouraged. Let their workstations be their space. An attractive entrance, a colorful décor and furniture, relevant and funny cartoons, beautiful and artistic paintings-anything that makes Monday mornings more exciting should also be encouraged.

Cooperation and teamwork are two very basic success mantras. It is very important for your employees to interact with each other and maintain healthy relationships. Group activities should be organized and mini breaks must be encouraged. A fun library with joke books, magazines, newspapers, cartoon books and CDs, DVDs of movies etc should be maintained for the benefit of the employees. Also, a board or blog where they can post comments, jokes, suggestions, cartoons and thank you notes should be put up. Anniversaries of when people joined your team and birthdays should be celebrated. This makes the employees feel that they are important and significant members of the team.

It is extremely significant to encourage team-building activities. An outdoor training program can prove to be very beneficial for your team. Interaction between your team members will increase cooperation and decrease conflicts.

Humor needs appropriate timing and one should ensure that one's humor is not another's horror. Negative situations can be resolved by using humor. The team should be encouraged to share difficult experiences in a humorous manner. One should have the ability to laugh at oneself. This would lighten up everyone's mood and have very positive psychological effects. Most importantly, the problem of the youth turning to drugs and alcohol to reduce stress can be curbed by ensuring that they enjoy work. For this purpose, exciting projects and challenging deadlines should be set. However, flexibility of work timings and the capability to work from home every now and then should also be maintained.

Contests like karaoke contests, free lunches or coffee once in a while, fun awards etc can also be organized. Occasional parties and social gatherings after work hours and incentives like gym, yoga or kick boxing classes can also be provided to the employees.

Most importantly, the relationship between you and your employees should be a friendly and comfortable one. They should have the freedom to express themselves and discuss their problems with you. You should be a part of the team and participate in all the group activities. Remember that the one factor which motivates us to work harder is Encouragement. When you know that your work is valued and appreciated, you tend to put in longer work hours to do better work. You should make the extra effort of interacting with them personally whenever you can and encourage them. All your colleagues should be treated equally and a cheerful and fun environment should be maintained. This would prove to be beneficial for both you and your employees.

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S C Mishra, a known career counselor, is an expert on subjects like Software Jobs in India and abroad.

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