If you want work to feel less like job, act like it. Here are four reasons it pays to infuse more fun into your business, and a few ways to do it.
Reduce stress. To be a successful entrepreneur, your heart and soul have to be committed to your business. Making work fun will give you the extra push to stay at the top of your game, and your staff will enjoy their roles more, too. (With any luck, they’ll also stick with your business longer, costing you less money on hiring and training). Instead of guessing what your employees find enjoyable, invite their participation. Have everyone on the team write down three things they do for fun. Using their lists as guides, find creative ways to incorporate what they love into the workplace. “Fun” ideas can range from organizing a relay team for a local footrace or be as simple as playing employees’ favorite music in the office or allowing pets to come to work once or twice a week. When you combine things employees enjoy with business hours, good days are better, and stressful ones feel less daunting.
Deepen relationships. When your business radiates positivity, customers want to be around more. In turn, relationships and trust will deepen, and hopefully, they’ll refer to you to their business peers. Invite clients over each month to “play” at your office, with informal social activities that have nothing to do with business. The events needn’t be formal, and shouldn’t last more than hour. Over time, however, your teams and customers get to see the human side of one another. In turn, business calls and meetings feel less like a job, and more like conversations with friends.
Improve office relations. Nothing kills the good intention of creating a fun business event more than forcing employees to participate, stay later, or put in more hours in order to attend the “fun” event. Appreciate the big picture, even if it cuts into productivity once in awhile. Got an office full of reality TV lovers? Organize a roundup at the end of each week where employees can watch and discuss clips of their most notable TV events for the week, or host a viewing party of their favorite TV show or media events on occasion. The camaraderie with one another that will form is worth far more than the lost productivity.
Open lines of communication. Dr. Paul McGhee of The Laughter Remedy has built a career out of encouraging humor. He says that “to function as a team, you need openness and comfort in bringing up difficult issues. Shared positive humor is a powerful means of achieving that. Any organization that wants or needs the full commitment of its employees to work as a team needs to establish a relaxed and open work atmosphere.”