Happiness looks different for everyone, but one thing’s for sure: when asked to define happiness, most people don’t think about their nine-to-five.
Your job is meant to be serious business. You clock in in the morning, grind through your daily tasks, and call it quits. Ultimately, you’re there to help your company make money.
But enjoying your job isn’t just a nice perk. Employee happiness actually enhances motivation, leads to higher job satisfaction, and increases productivity.
Happiness reduces stress, so employees can then better focus on their work and get more done. Inspiring happiness also opens up opportunities for employees to think creatively, which improves the bottom line. When people are given the space to innovate, they are usually more likely to take risks. By taking calculated risks, happy employees can help companies reap calculated rewards.
So, how can you go about increasing fun at your office? Kristoffer Nordström—who’s giving a keynote on the subject at STARWEST later this year—says you can’t force the issue. Companies can and should provide opportunities for employees to engage with each other in fun and meaningful ways, but, ultimately, it’s up to the employees and teams to create, innovate, and participate in the fun.
“It has to grow from the bottom up,” he said. “It needs to be authentic and genuine.”
Here are three ways you can inject some fun into even the most mundane parts of your work day.
Start a company fitness challenge. People love friendly competition, and if you add in the benefit of encouraging a healthy lifestyle, you have a win-win. Our company has a walking challenge with a goal of walking 10,000 or more steps for forty-five days out of every two months. Not everyone hits the goal, but almost one-third of the company participates, and there’s always good conversation about it. Getting people out of the office a few times a day also helps with thinking more creatively.
Celebrate small wins on Slack. Positive encouragement does wonders for self-confidence, and publicly applauding someone’s effort can be very rewarding. We have an #i-appreciate channel on our corporate Slack. People will post in there when a team member goes out of their way to help them out, delivers a major project, or goes above and beyond with a customer.
Join a company sports team. What better way to get to know your colleagues than getting crushed in a game of kickball, softball, or indoor soccer? Most areas have some sort of local sports league accepting corporate teams, and they can be affordable and easy to join. I played indoor soccer for the company team for a season and got to meet a lot of people I had never met before. Winning games with your colleagues is probably also fun, but I never experienced it.
By injecting some fun into the ordinary aspects of our jobs, we can turn workday drudgery into friendly competition, positive environments, and time spent with friends.
“Having fun is a prime motivator in growing and doing a good job in general,” Nordström said. “It’s a key driver behind a lot of the teams that gel well together.”
Originally published on TechWell Insights.