Fun is great to have. As a manager you can look to instil fun in the way people do things and within the environment in which people work.
As an individual the aim is to try to find, from within yourself, the fun in the work you do.
This was referred to earlier (see Self Motivation – part 6).
Fun may not be the greatest motivator of all time but being miserable and unhappy in a job will not promote high performance. Being happy makes all the other attributes and factors necessary for great performance easier to attain and utilise.
Having fun is not just about how you feel, it has a positive effect on everything around you.
Peoples’ enthusiasm and energy rises, team spirit is higher, there is a desire to work and excel levels of performance without being asked.
Having fun and having a good sense of humour has always made people feel better and helped physical recoveries.
When people have fun it becomes easier to like them and relationships improve.
Exercising a sense of humour is clearly not always appropriate.
Conversely, however, as well as promoting humour and fun if you attempt to suppress humour too much it can have a negative affect on performance.
Humour has many advantages.
It can be very useful in defusing a conflict situation.
It can stop you taking yourself and a situation too seriously. This will allow you to step back from a situation and see what’s going on more clearly.
Not taking yourself too seriously gives you more confidence when displaying non blame behaviour.
A non blame culture will not exist where humour is absent.
Fun can help you remember an event and thus improves communication.
If you feel better, then stress levels are reduced which can only be a good thing.
People can not perform well or think through problems clearly if they are under stress.
The result of happier personnel will be better performance leading to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
In a way creating fun is an informal reward (see Reward Systems – part 1).
Instead of using fun to recognise performance you will be using it to stimulate good performance.
All you need is someone willing to generate ideas. There is usually someone who can help in this area that might arrange specific fun events.
These might include, getting in a takeaway, organising a bowling tournament, arranging a fun or more competitive sporting event, or perhaps a fancy dress party.
These are prearranged formal events.
However, spontaneous activities may be more in keeping on occasion. For example, singing, whistling, or an impromptu impersonation.
If it’s a hot day and you can take lunch outside organise a mini sports competition, a game of football, basketball or cricket.
When you have a meeting introduce doughnuts or cream cakes.
Allow people to decorate their offices or work areas with something they find fun.
Why not put up a notice board for jokes and cartoons, fun newspaper articles etc or post these to a central area on an intranet for all to see.
Hand over a surprise gift to someone.
Friendly banter and jokes always help to build bridges.
Basically search for ideas and try to implement some quickly and others as and when you get agreement with others.
Investigate other companies and see how they create fun.
Use a suggestion box.
Look at how your company systems might inhibit enjoyment.
A classic example is the suit. Many companies now prefer smart and casual.
Obviously, implementation of all of the techniques for good motivation will be a good start, that is, team work, positive reinforcement, delegation and empowerment would go a long way to greater enjoyment in the work place.
Review policies and systems to see where streamlining or elimination can help.