Why you should encourage “The F-word” in the workplace

Let’s use the F-word more often at work! You know what word we’re talking about, don’t you? Do we really have to spell it out for you?

Yep! It’s high time for employers to allow true freedom of expression in the workplace and encourage the use of “The F-word” throughout the organisation. You know what word we’re talking about, don’t you? Do we really have to spell it out for you? Fine! “F-U-N!” It’s the word “Fun!” (Wait, what did you think we were talking about here?!)

Despite what some critics might think, it is possible for hard work and fun to coexist in the same room. And having fun in the workplace isn’t just about being “nice”. As it turns out, there are some pretty sound business reasons for integrating fun into the work environment. Here are five compelling reasons why you should encourage a culture of fun in the workplace.

1.   Happy people are more creative!

Research conducted by Professor Teresa Amabile, an expert in creativity in the workplace, found that persons who were in a good mood on a given day were more likely to have creative ideas that day, as well as the following day. According to Professor Amabile, “There seems to be a cognitive process that gets set up when people are feeling good that leads to more flexible, fluent, and original thinking.” Considering that Professor Amabile defines creativity as “producing novel, workable ideas and solutions to problems”, it is definitely in your interest to maintain an environment where your team members are in a good mood. So lighten up and have fun already!

2.   Happy workers are more productive

There is a growing body of research which suggests that happy workers are more productive. One study conducted by a group of economists led by Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at Warwick Business School, found that happy workers were up to 12% more productive while unhappier workers were 10% less productive. The researchers found that happier workers “use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.” If you’ve been struggling with productivity in the workplace, perhaps your employees are simply too stressed out or too unhappy to be productive. If this is indeed the case, it might be a good idea to introduce programmes, initiatives and policies which encourage employees to de-stress and have fun.

3.    Customers can sense when your employees are unhappy

It is unreasonable to expect unhappy, disengaged employees to give customers the exceptional service needed to convert those customers into raving fans of your business. Instead, it’s more likely the customers you’ve worked so hard to attract can sense that your employees are unhappy. It’s also likely that those customers are being repelled by the service they receive from unhappy employees – and that can have a negative impact on your bottom line. If this scenario sums up the employee/customer relationship at your workplace, all’s not lost. You can still turn things around and develop an internal culture full of happy, engaged and enthusiastic team members who are committed to helping your organisation achieve its goals.

4.    There is a link between happiness and health

Having an unhappy workplace could lead to your employees being unhealthy and needing more sick days and time off to deal with their health issues. A review of more than 200 studies conducted by Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Public Health, uncovered a link between psychological attributes, such as happiness, optimism and life satisfaction, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. The same review also indicated that “lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles were also associated with a better sense of well-being”. Considering that employees can spend as much time in the workplace as they do with their own families, it’s pretty easy to see how the overall mood of your workplace can have an impact on the health of your employees. So cheer up and develop a culture that encourages your team members to be happy and healthy!

5.   Having fun in the workplace can help build trust

The Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as having said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. Encouraging fun in the office can help your employees get to know each other better and improve the levels of trust, teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace. This, in turn, can create a culture of synergy where team members can be more productive. And improved productivity benefits everyone!

Of course, having fun at the office isn’t the answer to all of your employee management challenges, but it sure can help to develop a healthier, more creative and more productive work environment. If you want to introduce fun in the workplace, talk it over with your teammates. Let them know that you want to introduce a healthy dose of fun into your workplace. Your teammates are sure to have some ideas about the types of activities and initiatives they’d like to see introduced. Be patient. Changing a company’s culture takes time, especially if your workplace has individuals who believe that fun has no place in the workplace. If you need support, consider reaching out to a creative agency that is known for its positive work environment and can help you introduce fun into your workplace.

By Ron Johnson

Author | Speaker | Storyteller (Co-founder, Blueprint Creative)
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