The Antidote for Job
It’s less about taking up time and more about some thoughtful planning.
Here are just a few of the things people are doing right now (in order
of frequency) to create a more positive, fun work environment:
by Bob Pike, CSP, CPAE-Speakers Hall of Fame
Do you believe that job stress is higher than it has ever
been? That people have greater fear about their jobs and financial
security than ever before? And that stress and fear reduces
productivity? What if you were told you that there is an antidote for
these conditions and that this antidote could be taken almost any time
and any place? It’s true, there is.
The antidote is fun. Are you thinking that the idea of fun
reducing stress and increasing productivity in these tough economic
times is ridiculous? That your organization is looking to simply
survive, let alone thrive in these turbulent times? If that’s true, then
your competitors are silently cheering that you’ll continue to believe
that. And they will continue to implement fun in the workplace and reap
the productivity benefits.
First, let’s get rid of either/or thinking. It is not fun OR
productivity. It can be fun AND productivity. A fun work environment is
one in which a variety of formal and informal activities regularly
occur. These activities are designed to uplift people’s spirits and
positively and publicly remind them of their value to their managers,
their organizations, and to each other through the use of humor, playful
games, joyful celebrations, opportunities for self-development or
recognition of achievements and milestones.
Recognition of personal milestones (e.g.,
birthdays and hiring anniversaries)
Fun social events (e.g., picnics, parties and
Public celebrations of professional
achievements (e.g., award banquets)
Opportunities for community volunteerism
(e.g., civic and volunteer groups)
Stress release activities (e.g., exercise
facilities and massages).
Humor (e.g., cartoons or jokes in newsletters
Games (e.g., darts, bingo and
company-sponsored athletic teams)
Friendly competitions among employees (e.g.,
attendance and sales contests)
Opportunities for personal development (e.g.,
quilting class and book club)
Entertainment (e.g., concerts, skits and
and leadership experts are taking this seriously. Kemmons Wilson Jr., of
the founding family of Holiday Inn, said, “The responsibility of
incorporating ‘fun’ into an organization is as important a trait for a
CEO to possess as is strategic planning.”
Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, states: “We
hired attitudes that contained a humor and fun component and developed
And Ken Blanchard, Chief Spiritual Officer of the Ken
Blanchard Companies and co-author of The One Minute Manager, said,
“There are two things that can drive out fear. The first is faith and
the belief in a better way of doing things. The second thing that will
drive out fear is fun.”
Here are some guidelines to insure that fun leads to productivity. Fun
make people smile (at a
minimum) and laugh (if at all possible).
positively and publicly
remind people of their value to the organization and to each
be inexpensive to
develop, easily prepared and able to be implemented within
time and space limitations.
uplift people’s spirits
in ways that make them feel good about being part of the
organization (e.g., not embarrass, belittle or offend anyone
in or outside of the organization).
be as inclusive as
possible, while respecting the right of anyone to opt out
without censure, ridicule, pressure or criticism.
not detract from anyone’s
ability to safely, professionally or efficiently perform his
or her job responsibilities.
contribute to, and
support, the organization’s culture and core values.
be done on a frequent
basis, encompassing both planned and spontaneous events.
be planned and
implemented largely by employees (not be a top-down
results that are desirable, identifiable and measurable.
It doesn’t take a lot of
time to put fun in the workplace to achieve results. What it takes is
planning. And the results are well worth it. We can do our work faster,
better and easier – if we’ll have the courage to allow and encourage our
colleagues and co-workers to have fun while they are doing it.
Bob Pike CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame has been a training and
performance improvement consultant since 1969. He is the chairman/CEO of
the Bob Pike Group and the founder/editor of the Creative Training
Techniques newsletter. His latest of 29 books, The Fun Minute Manager:
Creating FUNomenal Results in the Workplace, was released in June 2009.
Contact him at