Posted on 12 March 2017

Does Your Workplace Have The “Fun” Factor?

Whatisnowaneight-yearpre-Christmastradition,TheFlightCentreTravelGroup‘Slip-n-Slide’becameanunexpectedviralphenomenoninDecember2014.Asstoriesandvideofootageoftheoutrageouseventeruptedaroundtheworld,manyconsideredwhetherthisdisplayofextremefuncementedtheBrisbane-basedcompanyasthe‘world’sbestplacetowork’.

Whenaskedtoexplaintheirongoingsupportfortheevent,manyFlightCentreseniorleadersagreedthattheslidewasanimportantpartofcompany’scultureoffunandenjoyment,andmanyfeltitplayedavitalroleincelebratingthehighperformanceoftheirteams.

WithFlightCentresportingoverthirtyyearsofsuccessandhighlevelsofemployeeengagement–youmightaskthequestion…doeshaving‘fun’atworkproducerealbenefittobusiness?

Youmaythinkthatfunandworkdon’tbelonginthesamesentence.However,recentresearchsuggeststhattherearesignificantbenefitsforcompanieswhoembracingthe‘funfactor’.

Atanindividuallevel,therearemanybenefitsofhavingfunintheworkplace.AccordingtoDrDavidAbramis,apsychologistwithoverthirtyyearsoforganisationalresearch,peoplewhoenjoythemselvesatworktendtohavemorepositiverelationshipswithco-workers,andareoverallmoreproductiveintheirworkoutput.

Theneurologicalbenefitsoffunonbrainandbodyarepowerfultoo.Whenpeoplearehavingfun,theirbrainsaremorelikelytobeina‘reward’state.Thispositivemindsetprogramsthehumanbraintobemoreopentoopportunities,changeandcollaboration;andlessrestrictedbyfearandstress.

Inadditiontotheseindividualbenefits,thereisarangeofevidencesupportingthepositiveimpactthatfunhasonorganisationalperformance.AccordingtoFortune’s‘Top100BestCompaniestoWorkFor’data,companiesthatconsistentlyscorehigherinthe‘funplacetowork’categoryalsooutperformtheirpeersforfinancialreturnsandlowemployeeturnover.

Companiesthatfocusonfunalsoappeartohavehigherlevelsofemployeeengagement,whichiscriticalfordrivingdiscretionaryeffortandperformance.FlightCentreTravelGroup,widelyknownforitscommitmenttofunandcelebrationintheworkplace(includingglobalballs,employeebenefitsandincentivemodels),boastsanemployeeengagementrateofalmostthreetimestheAustralianaverage.

Giventheevidencelinkingthepositiveimpactofenjoymentonperformance,itseemsfoolishnottoleveragethebenefitsoffunatwork.Butbeforeyourunofftoinstallaslip-and-slideinyouroffice–let’sfirsttakeamomenttoconsiderwhat‘fun’atworkreallymeans.Anddoesitholdthesamemeaningforeveryemployeeandcompany?

It’struethatthedefinitionoffuncanbeverysubjective–inastudybyBrightHR,employeedescriptionsof‘fun’atworkrangedfromhavingregularsocialactivitiestohavingtheabilitytoclock-offatareasonablehour.

Inadditiontothis,thestudyalsofoundthatsocialdemographicslikeageandgenderalsohadasignificantimpactonemployee’sperceptionofthevalueoffunatwork.AnalysisshowedthatGen-Yemployeesvaluehavingfunatworkmoresothanoldergenerations,andthat55%ofwomenbelievedthatworkplacefunwouldhaveapositiveimpactonworkperformance,versus45%ofmen.

Giventhesenuances,itisimportanttogiveconsiderationtothesocialcultureofyourofficewhenplanningyour‘funstrategy’.Whilst‘slip-and-slides’andglobalballsmaybeappropriateforFlightCentre–everyorganisationshoulddrawupontheirownuniqueculturewhenconsideringfunatwork.

Whileourdefinitionsmayvary,theideaof‘fun’issomethingweallshare–sothemostimportantthingtorememberistomaketimeforit!

Asfunismoreanattitude,notsimplyanaction–injectingfunintoaworkplacemaytakealittlebitoftime.Thegoodnewsisthatit’sdefinitelyworththeinvestment!

HereareafewIdeastosetyourorganisationontherightpath:

  • Choose‘fun’asthetoneofyourworkplace–Byshowcasingthebenefitsandleadingtheway,otherswillbesuretofollow!
  • Getothersinvolved–Oncefunisseentobeacceptableatwork,mostemployeesarequicktoaddtheirownflair.Bringthemonboardandsharetheload!
  • Beappropriate-Noteverykindoffunsuitseveryworkplaceorteammember.Differentpeoplevaluedifferentkindsoffun-andnoteveryonewantstoplaylasertagforexample!
  • Startsmall–remember,youdon’tneedaslip-and-slideorthrowabigofficepartytohavefun–sometimesit’sthesmallerinvestmentsthatdeliverpricelessresults.

There’ssomethingtrulywonderfulaboutanorganisationthathastheabilitytoseehappyandlaughingemployeesasgood,productiveandloyalemployees.Whenpeoplearehavingfun,notonlyaretheycontributingtotheirownhealthandwellbeing–theyarealsoinabetterpositiontocontributemoretotheirfocusonthejob.Andattheveryleast,betterperformancedrivinghealthyprofitswillhaveorganisationssmilingtoo!

PostedbyMelArmstrong. 

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