For some people, fun and work go together about as well as tuna and peanut butter. I know, ewww. If people had fun working, happy hours wouldn’t commence at quitting time. There wouldn’t be a chain restaurant named after our gratitude for Fridays. Heck, Loverboy wouldn’t have had a hit.
It’s just like happy hours, TGI Fridays, and “Working for the Weekend,” hating work seems so last century. It’s possible to love what you do. It’s possible to be passionate about it. It’s even possible to enjoy yourself at your job. If you’re wondering how to have more fun at work, here’s some ideas.
1. Fun and Games
Like many workplace innovations, pool and ping pong tables flourished at technology companies. Why should techies have all the fun? Maybe your office doesn’t have the floor space for Foosball, but there are ways to play games at work –– and I don’t mean starting rumors. You don’t even have to repurpose the conference room. Instead, buy some childhood classic board games. Have a bingo night. Even cards or charades can create camaraderie and convivial competition. Playing games not only helps staff blow off steam, it can boost creativity and productivity. Studies even suggest that playing physical games like cards or board games can improve mental acuity as we age.
2. Dog World
Studies suggest that employees who can bring their dogs to work not only put in longer hours but are less likely to leave or call in sick. Petting pets lowers blood pressure cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. It also reduces anxiety –– a great addition for stressful workplaces. This is partly why one study suggested pet owners save nearly $12 billion in health care costs. Although having furbabies in residence on the daily may not be in the cards, “Bring Your Pet” to work days are always popular. You don’t need to leave out the cats. Look how beloved the felines are at bookstores.
3. Redesign The Space
If your workers are returning to the office after months working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and you want to know how to have more fun at work, here’s an idea. Do some redecorating. Chances are your landlord will be more amenable to changes than in 2019. Fresh paint and new carpet can help, but you can also take design cues from some of best offices, like those of Pixar or Zappos.
4. Free Food and Libations
Companies have discovered that offering free meals not only encourages collaboration but improves employee health. After all, curated cuisine is generally better for you than the offerings at chain or fast food restaurants. If your office doesn’t have the budget for daily dining, theme meals are a fun way to get people away from their desks. Although on-site alcohol should be approached with caution, margarita and piña colada stations or free beer have proven popular in some progressive workspaces.
5. Friends Indeed
Befriending a coworker means more than finding someone to listen to your complaints. It can make your job more enjoyable. Plus, let’s face it. Our childhood chums were often as much about proximity as personality. We made friends with our neighbors or a girl from the next-desk over in homeroom. University was likely similar. The best friend in the world could be waiting two cubicles down. Gallup discovered in one study that women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged at their job than those who don’t have a close bud at the office.
Make an effort to say “hi.” Get to know colleagues. If you’re an introvert who long since stopped getting invitations because you kept saying no, change things. Reach out to whomever seems in charge of the entertainment committee. Let them know you want to do the next after-work hang. If you’re working remotely, as lockdowns end, make an effort to schedule a group event. Face-to-face time is a better way to have fun at work than FaceTime.
Our entire economy seems based on the idea of living long enough to not have to work. Yet if you find a way to have fun at work, you may never need to retire. Or as Mark Twain put it, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
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