Work doesn't have to be doom and gloom. You can execute serious tasks and have fun at the same time. Investing effort into making your workplace more fun has tangible, positive benefits for employees, and organizations.
Here are 5 reasons why fun should be part of your HR strategy.
1. Having fun improves communication and encourages collaboration
Enjoying time with colleagues in a relaxed and fun environment, including the workspace, encourages honest and open discussion. If employees are friends with the people they work with, as opposed to simply being colleagues, then they’ll work better collaboratively and communicate more effectively. They will understand each other's traits and it will reduce the risk of miscommunications. Having fun with people is an excellent way to build genuine trust in the workplace and employees will work together towards shared business goals.
2. Having fun makes employees more productive
A 2015 study by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that happier employees are more productive by an average of 12%.
When an employee feels low or sad for any reason, their morale and motivation drops, they may communicate less or less efficiently, and their productivity suffers.
People cope better in environments where they feel supported, even loved. Work doesn't have to be much different.
3. Happy employees are healthier
A Harvard School of Public health study found that
“A vast scientific literature has detailed how negative emotions harm the body. Serious, sustained stress or fear can alter biological systems in a way that, over time, adds up to ‘wear and tear’ and, eventually, illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart’s electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis [plaque deposits on the lining of arterial walls] and increasing systemic inflammation.” It's true unhappy employees mean an increase in absenteeism.
Absenteeism is a significant problem. UK businesses lose 6.9 days a year per employee because of absenteeism, at an estimated cost of £554 per employee. Nearly a quarter (23%) of UK organizations say ‘non-genuine absence’ is the top reason for short-term absence for non-manual workers, with this proportion rising to 30% for manual workers.
4. Having fun encourages public sharing
Employees who have fun and enjoy work are far more likely to spread the positive word. Having a good image for your business through a marketing campaign is one thing but having it through word of mouth is so much more powerful. If every one of your employees shared news about your business to their social groups, then your audience will increase exponentially, genuinely and for free.
5. Fun breeds innovation
Social ‘play’ is crucial to creative development. An individuals’ ability to learn improves when the task is enjoyable or even fun. Play can also stimulate imagination, helping people adapt and problem solve. Innovation is the crossroads between two ideas when employees are placed in an environment that nurtures creativity a business is far more likely to find and develop innovative ideas.
This creative culture can be created through problem-solving exercises, collaboration meetings and innovation hubs in the workplace.