It is odd how we put ‘self-actualization’ at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but when working people want a taste of self-actualization at work we tell them “Not so fast!”
Nearly everybody wants to use their muscles and stretch their brains. They want to exercise their creativity at work — and who can blame them?
If work were more fun, it would be more productive and more profitable. What’s interesting to me as a thirty-plus-year HR veteran is that the statement “empowered employees are more productive” isn’t the slightest bit controversial. Every leader and HR person knows it’s true — but most employers are not empowered, nonetheless.
Watch on Forbes:
We do not emphasize the need for work to be fun – but it is critical! If work isn’t fun, then it is a boring slog. Who could be excited about that?Who could do a great job serving customers if the only reward for their effort were a paycheck?
Fearful managers are afraid to let their employees bring their full, creative selves to work, so they stamp out any hint of individuality. They tell employees “You have to complete the procedure exactly the same way everybody else does it!”
If your work is so structured that procedures must be followed identically in every case, then why do you have humans performing the work in the first place?
Managing through fear is poor leadership.
Boards of Directors accountable to customers and shareholders should be up in arms about the epidemic of fear-based leadership in corporations, but they don’t seem to notice it.
How can they not notice that employees are cynical and exhausted, when every survey says this is the case?
Boards of Directors and the management teams they supervise should be talking about culture and trust in every conversation.
It is easy to make work fun. I’m not talking about manufactured “fake fun” devised by well-meaning but disconnected HR people or insulting team-building sessions.
I’m talking about the work itself. The work itself should be fun. It’s very easy to make jobs more fun than they are. You make a job more fun by giving the person who performs the job more latitude over the work.
When people are given the latitude to put their own stamp on the job, everything else gets better.
Work processes become smarter when the people who are responsible for executing them are also closely involved in designing and implementing them.
Teams begin to get and collaborate when they are trusted to do their work how they see fit. When they are treated like criminals or wayward children, how can they collaborate? How can they innovate? Fear and innovation are never found in the same ecosystem.
It is logical and responsible to make every job as fun and creative as it can possibly be, and good leaders do that as a matter of course. Poor leaders don’t trust themselves enough to trust the people who work under them.
They can’t step away and let their brilliant teammates apply their life experience and good instincts to the work. Their leaders are too afraid.
If you work for someone who is afraid to let you bring yourself to work, can you afford to spend another year dimming your flame?
If your work is not fun, then all you get from your job is a paycheck — but you deserve much more! You deserve to feel powerful and triumphant when you go home from work at night.
You deserve to work with smart and enthusiastic teammates who inspire you and whom you inspire. You deserve to work for a leader with a vision who understands that you have a vision for your own life, too.
You deserve to be paid fairly and to have your personal life valued by your employer. If you aren’t getting those things from your job, maybe now is a great time to look outside your organization’s walls.
You deserve to have fun at work, as we all do. If you’re not having fun now, why not start hunting for another employer who will value your talents?
At Contactzilla, we believe that our team is our greatest asset. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Like you, we want our team to be happy and feel fulfilled in their jobs.
We also want to motivate our team to be as productive as possible, without pushing them too far and stressing them out.
In my experience, team happiness spurs productivity and by making your work environment a ‘happy place’, you can take care of your team and encourage them to get more done.
Here are 10 of our favourite ways to make work fun so your employees stay happy and motivated…
1. Have a games area
If you want your team to stay motivated and refreshed, you should be encouraging them to take regular breaks. Of course, you want them to take their breaks away from their desks, so try to provide a fun and relaxing ‘breakout area’ where people can go for 10 minutes to clear their minds.
At Contactzilla HQ, we have a pool table as well as a small area with a sofa, bean bags and a picnic bench. Anyone is welcome to a game of pool, or to take their laptop over to the beanbags, any time they need a break or change of scenery.
Even just a game of pool every few hours is enough to put a smile on our faces. Not only does it make us happy but we often end up chatting about projects over the pool table, giving us a fresh new perspective to take back to our desks.
2. Go out together
Have fun with your whole team by going for regular days and/or nights out. Going out together as a team is a great way to get everyone having fun and forming relationships outside of work that could inspire collaboration back in the office.
As well as being loads of fun, days out can make great team-building exercises, even if you don’t fancy traditional ‘build a raft from drinking straws’ style team building days (we survived this zombie apocalypse together and had a great time).
Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer at Woohoo Inc, believes socializing with your colleagues is key to forming a collaborative culture…
“If you’re not able to relate to your coworkers as human beings and build positive relationships, your career will suffer. Socializing and getting to know them as people will help you to communicate better, trust each other more and work better together.”
3. Encourage friendships
Socialising with coworkers can go further than after work drinks on a Friday and the odd team-building day. According to Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, people with a ‘best friend’ at work are up to 7 times more engaged than those who aren’t.
Workplace friendships can also help you develop a culture of ‘compassionate love’ which research has found can lead to higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork, as well as a reduction in sick days.
You spend a huge proportion of your time at work so its important not to hate your office. If you want your team to enjoy being at work, make sure you provide a workspace that’s attractive and interesting but also conducive to productivity.
Remember, your office is a reflection of your brand. Decorating in accordance with your brand will help your team stay in touch with it. For example, if your business prides itself on its simplicity, a messy, cluttered office isn’t going to help your team feel in line with your mission.
Stuck for ideas? Why not get everyone involved and decorate your office as a team? It’s fun and a great way to get everyone working together.
5. Get a dog
Recent research has shown that having a canine companion in the office can actually increase productivity, reduce stress and spark communication between employees.
Another study found that participants who worked with a dog nearby ranked their team-mates higher on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who didn’t. In other words, having a dog in the office can also help your team become better collaborators.
So go on, get a dog in the office and watch happiness and productivity and soar!
6. Get the beers in
At Contactzilla, our team is mostly made up of web developers and each of them has different skills and experience.
Our team love to learn new skills so every Friday afternoon, we hold a “tech talk” where one of the developers talks about a problem they’ve encountered or a new piece of tech they’ve been using. We find that sitting down with a beer at the end of the week and sharing knowledge is a fun and productive way to wind down.
7. Celebrate small wins
Teresa M. Amabile, one of the world’s leading researchers studying organizations and the roles people play within them, has found that one of the biggest influences on workplace happiness and productivity is the “progress principle”.
“What we found was that, of all the events that occur on best days, one stood out well above the rest – simply making progress on meaningful work. We call this the “progress principle.”
According to Amabile, meaningful work “does not necessarily mean lofty goals like curing cancer, only that the work be of value to the person doing it. In fact, meaningful work can be as ordinary as providing customers with a useful service or a quality product. But for the progress principle to take effect, the work must be meaningful in some way to the person.”
If you want your team to be happy, you need to make sure they feel they are making progress and understand the importance of their role to your company.
8. Peer to Peer feedback
Chances are, the boss doesn’t know or understand exactly what everyone on the team does on a day-to-day basis. To make sure your team is getting the feedback they deserve, why not try peer to peer feedback…
At Contactzilla, we encourage our team to help each other out and give each other feedback, whether positive or constructive. They appreciate feedback from their peers who understand their work in depth and it helps them develop closer relationships and collaborate better in the future.
9. Share photos of your children or pets
Yes, I’m telling you to be “that guy”, but hear me out…
Showing photos of their kid or pet to co-workers can help your team establish friendships, creating a happier and more loyal workforce. If that wasn’t enough, studies also show that looking at cute animal pictures at work can actually make you more productive!
10. Encourage hobbies at work
Everyone has a hobby they’re passionate about so why not let your team take a half-hour out to work on their hobby? It’s a great way to relieve stress, recharge your batteries and offers your team the chance to bond over common interests.
About the Author
Mark Panay is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Contactzilla, a seamless contact management system for businesses and organizations. In addition to his love for emerging technology, Mark is also a trustee of Deki, a very cool microfinance charity that helps entrepreneurs in developing countries generate sustainable incomes.
Every successful business owner or manager understands – or should understand – that happy employees make productive employees. Many also wonder if it is all really so simple.
Outside of a great salary and awesome benefits, many companies have developed systems (which sounds overly serious) to create active, energized and (gulp) fun workplaces to increase employee productivity. If that’s a counter-intuitive concept to you, then you might want to listen up.
While some companies, most notably those like Google, NIKE, Zappo, or Foursquare, have blazed the trail in creating fun workplace environments, there is research to suggest a fun workplace not only improves productivity, but also fosters organizational community, pride, and loyalty. A University of Florida study found employees who had fun on the clock accomplished more and showed more creativity. Likewise, a professor at the Mayo Clinic [told The New York Times] workers don’t take enough breaks, while another study shows regular breaks increase productivity.
On the flip side, recreation in the workplace not only promotes creativity and innovation, which increase productivity and profitability, it also reduces costs in employee turnover and health care. The World Health Organization suggests that workplace-related stress actually costs American companies more than $300 billion. As it is, more than 40 percent of American workers report chronic workplace stress , and other research points to the fact that employee stress squashes creativity and competitiveness.
It could lead one to believe stress is bad for business, and fun is good.
So what are the best ways to take a break, goof off or recharge your batteries that lead to less stress and increased productivity when you get back to work?
Get out of your chair. Do anything that gets you up and moving , whether it’s a walk around the block, running an errand or just visiting co-workers to chat. If your company has a gym, take advantage of it during the middle of the day.
Add fun or relaxation space. A game room will give employees a reason to take a mental break, while a quiet relaxation room could be used for reading or naps during mandatory breaks.
Use fun tools. If you’re a fan of gadgets, use them to manage your productivity and make more time for fun. Check out these mobile apps that can make you more efficient.
Ditch the mundane meetings. Traditional meetings can be boring and a huge time waster. Try different approaches to the traditional meeting that focus on different principles for hyper-productive sessions.
New thoughts on workplace design. Let employees create a sense of ownership by decorating their own spaces, such as with lights or chairs, and bring in personal artwork for the office. Take down walls that separate employees, create open environments, or even standing work stations.
Celebrate good things. Instead of a pat on the back, take time away from the desk to celebrate victories and recognize good work. Take afternoons off or let people out early for a holiday weekend.
What is your favorite thing to do at work to take a break? Check out these ways to be more productive.
Do you think it’s productive to take breaks during the workday? Click here to learn more.
What are the best ways companies can promote having fun at work? Click here for ideas.
Do you want to increase productivity in a fun way? We created our own routines and we share them with you to help you become more productive.
In these past weeks, I struggled to stay focused and productive. My main issue was working alone as most of our team is remote. And it’s quite challenging not having someone next to you to ask for advice or just chat when you need a break.
That meant spending many days doing the bare minimum to feel good about my self. The positive thing is that my house was always sparkling clean; I cooked gourmet lunches for myself and caught up with pretty much all my favorite series. The negative is that at some point I had a huge pile of never ending things to do.
As a business developer, I love to find creative solutions to my problems. And that’s what I did this time too. I really had to increase my productivity and catch up with all my tasks.
I was quite stressed and to be honest, looking at the number of things I had to do I was just demotivated. So I figured that the only way I could manage this was by finding a fun way to get through my list.
After testing a few, we came up with a daily routine that helps me and my team to increase productivity and make the best out of everyday.
The To Do list buddy
Have you ever heard of daily stand-ups? It’s one of these exercises startups love to increase accountability and make sure everyone knows what to do. And will actually do it because everyone knows and it would look bad not doing it.
To be honest, I never particularly liked this practice. First, it takes a lot of time as you are supposed to be in a circle and listen to the 3 most important things everyone is going to do. Second, I never particularly cared of what someone in another department was supposed to do. Especially when it had zero impact on me.
So this was not really an option for me. But, what I really like is to have a todo list and plan my day accordingly. I just love the feeling of crossing items off my paper to do list.
I also happen to be quite competitive and it usually helps a lot when I feel I might win something. That’s when I thought I could combine these two things and create a system to increase productivity.
One morning, Roy and I met at our home office and we just wrote down our respective To Do lists. And we added a new element to it.
We chose only a few important items. We wrote them down on paper and we agreed that whenever one of us would finish a task, we would give a specific signal. At that point the other had to cross off the item from the other’s list.
No need to say…I was the first one to finish and in way less time than what I originally expected!
What we did was not so different from what we would do daily individually. But, having a To Do list buddy made us feel accountable. We knew what we had to do and we knew we had to do it fast otherwise you would have the “shame” of crossing the other’s list.
Why this works well for us is because we both like some healthy competition and we both get excited when we “win” something. And making a fun game out of it helped us increase productivity and get things done faster.
Find your trigger and make a fun game out of it!
The ice-cream therapy
We recently joined 42workspace, an awesome co-working space in Rotterdam. It’s a very vibrant place, with many inspiring entrepreneurs and successful companies. That’s the perfect place for people like us, who need to surround themselves with like-minded professionals.
Working there always allows us to focus and do some deep work. But, as you also probably experienced, being in an office doesn’t necessarily mean being productive. I personally spent countless hours checking random stuff, instead of actually focusing on work. Sad but true.
One of the things we love the most about 42 is the ice-cream shop just across the street. It’s not only a delicious treat, we actually figured out that is one of the best tricks to boost our productivity.
Every time we decide to work from the office we have this very effective productivity trick. We use the same To Do list buddy game, with a twist. The one that doesn’t manage to finish the list on time – or at all – has to buy ice-cream for the other.
The best part is that we don’t wait for the standard 6 pm. Whenever one of us finishes, no matter what time it is, the ice-cream will be served.
Why this works for us is because we both need to feel rewarded for our accomplishments. Big or small. Knowing that there will be a sweet treat at the end of the To Do list, pushes us to do things faster.
Reward yourself for your small achievements!
Ok, this is not a luxury each one of you will be able to take. But it does work very well for us. So if you are a freelancer or entrepreneur, or a very understanding manager, it’s worth trying.
This is something we started doing from the very early days of The BD School. We worked late at night, during the week and during the weekend. At some point, we had a drop in our productivity.
No matter how hard we worked, we always had more things to do. So we decided we had to change some things around and make it fun again.
We decided that for every weekend we would spend working on our company, we would take the equivalent of time during the week. That’s what we call the week-weekend.
What we do is usually just roam around the city, try out new cafés and restaurants where we could go to work the next day. Sometimes do some sport or go for lunch with old colleagues. It became a sort of team building activity and it allows us to take a break from the pressure we put on ourselves.
The result is that usually, on these occasions we manage to be more creative. We come up with a lot of ideas we want to test on The BD School and we get back a lot of energies. This is by far the best way to increase productivity as it really refreshes our brains and allows us to see things differently.
If you can’t take a full day off during the week, propose to arrive earlier in the office and leave sooner. In this way you’ll have some free hours that you can spend on things you like.
Take a break, refresh and get ready to push yourself again the next day.
What’s your routine to increase productivity? Share your story with us!
At a lot of companies, employees have a tendency to dread mandatory training because it’s just not designed to be enjoyable. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that managers and business owners can do to enhance the appeal of training sessions for staff members.
Successful training sessions are essential to ensuring that your staff members know everything they need to so that they can do their job right. If your employees are bored and developed a lazy or indifferent attitude about training, they might be overlooking essential productivity and safety procedures and thereby cost your company a lot of money.
The following are five suggestions on how you can ensure that you get the required information across to your staff members by making training enjoyable and engaging:
Select a trainer that everyone likes
Don’t underestimate the importance of the trainer you choose. You need to learn to pick trainers that your staff members are going to find are charismatic and entertaining. You’re also going to need to learn to select trainers who still manage to get the lesson across to staff members so that they understand it.
In a lot of situations, you might not be having your own staff member do the training and might be hiring somebody from the outside to come in. In this case, don’t just evaluate that person’s professional credentials. Also evaluate what kind of presenter that person is and how well liked that individual is likely to be by your staff members. Choosing someone who’s instantly likable around your company can make your training sessions much more productive.
Go somewhere new with your staff
One of the biggest mistakes you can avoid if you know your staff members are getting bored with training is have training sessions in the same old place. Make things memorable by bringing your staff members to a more enjoyable venue.
You should try to hold a training outside the office if it’s possible. This will break up the routine for your staff members. You might be able to select a perfect venue if you find a meeting room for rent that’s located at an attractive destination. Perhaps there is a resort or conference center in your area that’s generally very popular. It might be worth splurging on the expense if it will make your employees appreciate your company more while also enhancing the effectiveness of the training.
Bring out your employees’ drive for competition
If you’re looking for a great way for how to make training fun and interactive, you should consider setting up a competition. Turn training into a competition and offer some great incentive or rewards to employees who perform the best. This can really motivate employees to master the subject at hand. It can also enhance camaraderie and make the training process exciting.
Ideally, you should choose several awards rather than just one major award so that everyone feels included and there are many opportunities to win. Think about your staff members and what they would most like to win to determine the best incentives. It’s best if you can include some complimentary prize just for successful completion of the training course if at all possible.
Ask employees how they’d like to do things
If you’re not sure about how your employees would handle training best, why not ask them? No one knows better than your staff members what your staff members like. Consider sending a survey around to all your staff members about which venues they prefer, what trainers they like, what rewards would be most appealing to them, and what aspects of the subject matter they’re likely to have issues with and need further explaining for.
Your employees will appreciate the fact that you’re clearly valuing their opinion. This will motivate them to make your training exercise more of a success. In addition to asking your employees what they would prefer, you might even want to give your employees multiple options for handling their training if you have the resources and your staff is large enough.
Free Book Preview: Coach ’Em Way Up
Everyone wants to work somewhere fun. Ask anybody in the world what type of place they want their office to be, and only a tiny percentage will reply “someplace boring, where nobody enjoys themselves and everyone only pays attention to the work in front of them.” Yet, many workers find themselves in such an environment.
That’s because there’s a dissonance for business owners that’s difficult to resolve. Yes, “fun” workplaces get more attention and seem to have happier workers, but at the end of the day, you’re running a business, and you need to make sure your workers are productive if you have any chance of remaining profitable. Unfortunately, many business owners assume that the best way to encourage productivity is to discourage fun and enforce as many tight-laced structures as possible in the overall work culture.
This isn’t the only way to go about this, nor is it the best way. In fact, there are several strategies you can use to keep your productivity high while simultaneously injecting an atmosphere of fun into your office environment:
1. Organize challenges.
Friendly competition is always a good thing. You can do this with professional items — for example, you can split your marketing force into two teams and have them compete to see who can generate the most leads in a given period. But you can also do this with non-work-related games — for example, you can sponsor a ping pong tournament or something similar for your workers to blow off steam.
Either way, the competition will get your workers’ blood pumping, and will inspire them to work harder in all the other areas of their jobs. Plus, it can be a nice distraction from the rigors of a daily routine.
2. Encourage breaks.
Too many offices have either intentionally or unintentionally developed a culture that encourages workers to work as long and as hard as possible. The thought process is that putting in 12-hour days without breaks makes you more productive than someone putting in only eight or nine hours with breaks. In actuality, breaks are a great opportunity to decompress.
Breaks lead to fresher minds, greater problem-solving and focus and more creative thinking. Encourage your workers to take breaks whenever they see fit (within reason, of course). Set up a dedicated break room, and fill it with things that will take your workers’ minds off their work for a few minutes — complementary coffee, light snacks and even a game or two will work wonders.
3. Socialize offsite.
Workplaces where co-workers and collaborators get along as friends tend to succeed more than places where employees keeps their distance and function as wholly independent automatons. The best way to facilitate collaboration, team building and generally improved inter-office relationships is to hold opportunities for offsite socialization.
If you can, treat your team to an offsite lunch occasionally to just eat, talk and hang out together. Sponsor an offsite event that rewards your employees, or hold a backyard barbecue as an informal gathering.
Your employees don’t all have to be best friends with each other, but if you can get away from the office and see each other a little more personally, the team will work better together and have more fun doing it.
4. Celebrate achievements.
Most offices have some way of recognizing achievements, such as raises, bonuses, promotions or just nods of recognition. Few offices take the time or effort to celebrate achievements, even major ones.
Whenever a team or individual hits a major goal, or when the company reaches a major milestone, treat your team to a real celebration. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or take a lot of time, but hosting a mini gathering makes a big impact. It helps people reap the rewards of their hard work, spend time together and feel good about the progress your business has made.
5. Focus on productivity, not schedules.
Finally, one of the best ways to facilitate productivity is to directly encourage it. Rather than setting strict schedules, timetables and rules, give your employees more flexibility to do their work as they see fit, with one caveat: the work has to get done, no matter what. Accommodating work-from-home days, flex time, long breaks and strange working environment requests can actually enable your workers to function better and get more done — even if they’re working fewer regular hours.
Implement these work culture institutions in your own business, whether you’re just starting up or you’ve been around for a few years. You’ll notice a near-immediate difference in the attitudes and behaviors of your employees. They’ll feel more appreciated, more relaxed and best of all — they’ll be better equipped to do their jobs well and feel happier doing it.
By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
Ping-pong, foosball, and hammocks—these are just a few of the fun amenities that companies are providing to employees. Can an employee have fun at work while staying productive? Are these features just a cool trend or do they have a measurable impact on productivity? These interactive elements can improve talent retention and employee morale, but only if they align with business values.
The Workplace as a Social Hub
Silicon Valley was one of the first sectors to embrace the open office. It has the dual advantage of promoting collaboration while reducing real estate costs. It seemed like a smart move to place twice as many people in an open floor than individual cubicles. But many companies have found that the success of an open layout depends entirely on their workplace culture.
It’s the same way with “fun” workplaces. The intention is to transform the office into a place where employees can socialize. I’ve seen everything from arcade tables and gaming consoles to movie theaters with real popcorn. Some organizations encourage people to hop on scooters as a novel way to get to meetings. I even know a company that has a library with a gas fireplace.
But is a big slide really the right choice for your company? These features aren’t always all fun and games. For starters, you need a certain amount of available space. And then there’s your workplace culture, which may not give employees the freedom to let go of their professional decorum.
Plus, a fun amenity always runs the risk of turning into a distraction. For example, a bean bag toss won’t make a difference if employees don’t feel like they have permission to use it. That’s because a fun workplace isn’t the result of your amenities—it’s the atmosphere you create around them.
If one fun amenity doesn’t fit your workplace culture, there may be others that do. A lobby slide may not fit your organization, but there are myriad ways to turn your workplace into a strategic advantage.
Four Rules for Fun Workplaces
Your workplace is one of the most strategic parts of your organization. If you want to offer amenities that lighten the mood, you have to be intentional. Here are four do’s and don’ts that will help create a space with an outgoing vibe.
1) Follow the Data
The concept of “fun” should come from employees, not leadership. That means understanding the ins and outs of their workflow. You need to establish where there are friction points to determine if an amenity can ease the tension.
Take a look at how employees use conference rooms, kitchens, and individual desks. What percent of meetings result in employees traveling between floors? How many people use their assigned workstation less than 20% of the time and how many are glued to it all day? You need a foundation of data before you can optimize your workplace.
2) Get Broad Support
Sometimes an amenity will only appeal to a niche part of your employee base. Maybe your salespeople love taking calls from a hammock but no one else gives them a second thought. Or the accounting department enjoys table tennis to build camaraderie but no other team feels the same way.
An effective amenity is one that has mass appeal. For instance, say your data shows that your space and workplace teams have more than 100 meetings a week. These two groups also enjoy gaming to burn off steam and create connections. You can move these employees into a space with shared amenities, effectively creating a zone that supports both their work and social habits.
3) Don’t Go for Cool
A workplace trend has a shelf life of five years, and that’s a generous estimate. In that time, your whole business model might change, not to mention your layout needs. It’s best to be restrained when it comes to adopting the latest and greatest.
Think about your core business identity instead. Your workplace amenities need to be a reflection of your company. It’s a lot like buying clothes—you want to have a distinct style rather than only wearing what’s in style. If your business is impulsive about hopping from trend to trend, you’ll send mixed messages to employees about your organization’s personality.
4) Measure ROI
How do you quantify an on-site escape room? You first establish the outcome you wish to see and then trace it back to ROI. Those goals could be anything from productivity, creativity, or collaboration to wellness scores or satisfaction ratings.
For example, if you want a pool table to promote relaxation, look at your turnover rates. Or if you added a putt-putt course to encourage recruiters to share their knowledge, review their commissions.
But don’t hold onto your ROI assumptions too tightly. You don’t want to overlook another metric that could show success in a different light. For example, maybe the sales team isn’t closing more deals but their retention has improved. Or maybe your overall turnover rate hasn’t changed but new hire turnover has decreased.
Your workplace is a driving factor for employee hiring and retention. A fun office only works if it produces results. If the office design doesn’t impact behavior in a positive way, all you’ve done is wasted real estate and capital. Focus on improvements that will truly strengthen morale and productivity.
Keep reading: Increase workplace productivity by relying on your senses.
“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”
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I always thought that personal productivity is primarily a matter of habits, and that (lack of) habits are the main reason why most people cannot maintain an acceptable level of personal organization.
It seems that while there are people who are born to it, others have to struggle hard to maintain the necessary discipline to achieve results. It has nothing to do with their ability or intelligence; it is all about habits. If you are used to somehow get organized since you were a kid, well, now it is easier. But if you lack that habit, it gets tricky. Creating new habits is hard, time consuming and requires an iron will.
Personal productivity is one of those activities that everyone recognizes as beneficial to their life—like quitting smoking, exercising or eating in a more healthy way—, but only a few manage to get it under control. Probably our biggest challenge in FacileThings is to help create those habits in people who are not accustomed to stay organized for long.
Although I know that you need a good dose of self-discipline to build good habits, I keep wondering if we could not help more from the outside. From this point of view, lately I am very interested in the concept of fun as a means of motivation.
I’m just outlining the subject, thinking out loud; so if you have any idea about it, I would really appreciate your comments below 😉
You probably already know The Fun Theory, an initiative of the Volkswagen group that seeks different ways in which fun can change people’s behavior. Perhaps one of their most famous videos is this:
Although walking up stairs is a good exercise, most people use the escalators if they can. In Sweden, they transformed the stairs of a metro station into a huge piano, so that each step seems and sounds like a musical note. After that 66% more people chose to walk up stairs.
Clearly fun motivates people. Would not it be easier to get organized each day if it was a amusing activity?
A way to introduce fun in personal productivity could be through gamification. This term is applied when you use game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.
It turns out that games are very powerful tools for motivation. They have ingredients that make them fun, exciting and even addictive. Could not we include in personal productivity other ingredients that would make it more attractive?
Sometimes, knowing the benefits you will get if you do something is not enough motivation. What if we gamify GTD? What do you think? Any ideas?
How Great People
Get To Work
They call it work for a reason. Your employers expect you to work hard and be productive. After all, that’s what they pay you to do.
On the other hand, there are no rules, written or unwritten, that prohibit you from being productive and having fun at your workplace. Your eight- or ten-hour days can be stressful for you and your team. Lightening things up will make your days flow smoothly and help you be more productive.
Here are a few things you can try:
Without friends at work, your days are going to be boring and never-ending. Friends are the key to having a fun and productive workplace. Rather than distracting you, they tend to keep you engaged and performing at your best. And on those days when a dark cloud hovers over your work area, they will be there to cheer you up.
Decorate your workspace
Add your personality to your work area. If you’re in an office, brighten the walls with colorful art. You’ll add pizzazz to the area and raise everyone’s mood and productivity. You can also have plants, posters and photos (work-appropriate only!) to liven things up.
If you work in the plant and have banners of your favorite sports teams, display them prominently each time the Patriots, Bruins, or Red Sox pull off a win. Are you a fanatic? Place some memorabilia in your work area to remind you (and everyone else) who your favorites are.
You could use these same suggestions to give your breakroom a makeover.
Find reasons to celebrate
To make everyone’s day a little brighter, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, births or anything that gives you a reason to have fun. Assign people to pick up donuts or a cake on the way to work, and you’re all set to party!
Plan some after-work activities
Planning for social activities after work can also be fun. It gives everyone something to look forward to and also provides a good laugh as you discuss your activities the next day. It could be drinks at the local sports bar, a golf or bowling league, or family night at a restaurant or park. It doesn’t matter all that much which activity you choose; it’s the camaraderie that spills over into the workday that’s important.
Dress with a theme
You’ll need to get permission from your senior managers for this one, but you can schedule days when the office attire is replaced by theme clothing. Of course, there’s the obvious St. Patrick’s green, but you can get even more creative. Remember, the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is approaching. Have some fun with that!
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