Bust Boredom for a More Sustainable Company
September 4, 2017 · 3 min read
Get your employees motivated with regular sustainability-boosting experiences.
September 4, 2017
Today, we’re going to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. We all want our workplaces to be fun, right? There’s tons of buzz about the importance of the “fun factor” in an office culture. But can we pause for a moment before we continue– What on earth does that actually mean? Before we launch right into another “4 ways to make your office more fun” list, let’s first define this critical and often misused term. But don’t fret… There are definitely 4 easy things you can do this week to make your office fun this week.
When we talk about fun offices, big-box names like Google and Facebook come to mind along with images of endless dessert buffets, massage chairs, and slides instead of stairs. That sounds like fun right? But put down your ping pong paddles for a minute and let’s see what factors actually go into a fun work environment.
Although these gimmicks do help to make your office look fun, a really fun culture doesn’t come from the toys. What we need to understand is that a “fun office” is defined by the company culture, not by the bells and whistles. If you first invest in creating a safe, open, comfortable environment, all the fancy trimmings you add later (office barista, anyone?) will be icing on an already delicious cake. However, it doesn’t work the other way around. Basically, if there is a negative office culture, to begin with, then throwing money at super “fun” things isn’t really going to help that.
You may say this is a question of the chicken and the egg, but evidence is mounting to support this idea. That’s good news for companies who care about having an amazing office culture but don’t necessarily have the budget of Google. Invest in quality time together, rather than money. Psychology has taught us that in particular, there is one prerequisite to having a fun office that you can get without installing a keg in your office. It’s a concept called Psychological Safety. Psychological Safety is the notion that no one will be ridiculed for speaking up, asking questions, or making mistakes. It boils down to a matter of building trust among co-workers and management alike, and one of the best ways to do this is group activities that are designed to break down barriers (we’ll expand on that later). Once you invest a little in creating a trusting and open culture, the fun will follow suit. And believe us, it’s worth it.
Between tight deadlines and tighter budgets, fun has a habit of falling to the bottom of the to-do list at the office as well as in our everyday lives. In a national survey of more than 500 HR managers, the majority strongly supported promoting fun in the office, noting that a positive environment benefits not only the employees individually, but the business as a whole, said Forbes. The other benefits that the study found were numerous, and also make sense logically. Some of the top ones were:
Once you’ve read up on Psychological Safety, these are 4 cost-effective and supercharged ways to liven up your office and let the good times roll!
Fun can mean different things to different people, but there is one sure bet that crosses all barriers… that everyone loves a good laugh. Whatever fun activity you want to be bringing to your office, laughter should be a main objective. We’ve all heard the adage, “laughter is the best medicine” and that’s more than just a cute saying. One recent experiment at the Loma Linda University study found that after participants watched a laughter-inducing 20-minute video, their learning aptitude improved by 40 percent and cortisol (stress hormone) levels were reduced by 45 percent.
This company takes a break every hour for the employees to stretch together. But if you’re not up for that kind of commitment, a once a week meditation or yoga session can work wonders for the atmosphere at your office. In addition to being fun and engaging, they also boost productivity and well-being, making them one of the most powerful tools you can use to improve your office culture.
Improv at work? Believe it or not, this is probably the most effective action you can do for your business. It’s a double whammy- as powerful for raising Psychological Safety as it is just plain fun! Research has shown that people can improve their communication skills and lower anxiety with regular practice, improv’s low-stakes training makes teammates at ease with communicating in a variety of workplace situations. So improv will not only have your employees laughing until it hurts, but it will also them better communicators, effective speakers, and more present individuals.
Create a game corner in your office and keep a deck of cards as well as the classics like Uno and Cards Against Humanity. Don’t just provide the cards, but lead by example by playing a hand yourself at lunch time, and encourage small breaks for teammates to play together.