I value fun. I want to have fun from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment my head hits the pillow at night. Having fun strengthens and energizes me. Since I spend most days in my job, I want every day of work to have some element of fun. You will often hear me say to co-workers in response to an event or activity, “Oh that sounds like so much fun!”
I know that my love for fun is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think most people would agree that they want to get some enjoyment out of work. For me, finding the fun is how I stay connected and engaged in my role as a learning professional and leader. Finding the fun fuels my passion for coaching, mentoring, teaching, and guiding others in their professional growth. Finding the fun helps me stay motivated and inspired to do my best work. Every day I ask myself (and sometimes others), “How can I (we) make this fun?”
Perhaps finding the fun is not your strongest value or purpose, but it should be an important component of your work. Research shows how fun creates a better learning environment, makes people work harder, and improves communication and collaboration (and that’s just a few of the benefits). When was the last time you had fun at work? Did it make the time fly by? Did you feel engaged and satisfied with your work and your team? Did you work harder, learn more, and collaborate better? I’m guessing that you were more productive and motivated to get stuff done when you were having fun.
How do I find the fun? Sometimes it’s something simple like listening to music that makes me want to dance in my seat while I’m completing a boring or mundane task. I may send a funny meme or video to bring some levity to the end of the week. I love to eat (I mean, who doesn’t?) so I try to incorporate potluck-style lunches or unique snacks into retreats and team meetings. I look for opportunities to celebrate others’ accomplishments and milestones in fun and creatives ways. This could include sending out a silly birthday card or gift or setting aside time for kudos and shout-outs during meetings. During learning events, I look for ways to create a fun environment for participants to better engage and connect with each other and the material through interactive activities. During team events or celebrations, we may incorporate a game or contest. In a team meeting, we may kick off with a fun icebreaker question or there may be some joke-sharing in the group chat.
The great thing about trying to figure out how to have fun at work is there are tons of resources available to give you ideas. Just enter “fun at work” into your favorite search engine and several articles listing out ideas and companies that you can hire for activities will pop up.
To kick off your efforts to find the fun at work, celebrate National Fun at Work Day on January 28th. To learn more about the history of this celebration, click here.
How can you celebrate fun on January 28th? (or, rather, every day?!?) See below for some of my go-to ideas:
- Share a funny meme or GIF to thank someone for completing or helping you with an assignment
- Start off with an icebreaker to warm everyone up during a team meeting
- Promote friendly competition with your team
- Listen to music that energizes you while you work
- Take a one-minute dance party break with your team
- Post a funny pet video at the end of the week
- Grab a coffee or take a cookie break with a co-worker who makes you laugh
- Start each week with a (work-appropriate) joke or riddle
- Come up with fun team cheers or sayings
- Host an event to inspire relationship building (virtual or in person) such as
- Team trivia
- Scavenger hunt
- Escape room
- Murder mystery