HOW TO MAKE WORK FUN (FOR YOUR TEAM)
When I start to work with someone new, we always talk about what they want it to be like for their team to work there. And everybody always wants their people to like working there.
I hope you do too.
I certainly want my people to like working here.
I’ll focus myself here on having fun.
Having fun at work or with work is part of enjoying your job along with a host of other things like feeling valued and respected, looked after, challenged, trusted, and a whole heap of other stuff.
But let’s talk fun – how can you and should you have fun at work?
After all, we’re there to work, aren’t we?
We can’t spend the day arseing about, there’s work needs doing. So we need to strike an appropriate and workable balance – mostly work, some fun.
We want people to enjoy work, as we said.
If your people are happy at work, they work better, and more willingly, and they stick around longer.
We have a framework in my program for ‘How to manage your people – Do you get the best from them and for them’.
We break the job down into hiring well in the first place, leading them properly so they want to help make it successful; manage them well so they know what to do and if they’re doing it; and have a great culture, so they feel looked after and want to look after you in return.
That reciprocality is important. It’s a powerful factor in the human psyche.
Robert Cialdini talks about it as one of the seven principles of persuasion and Simon Sinek also talks about how important it is. So look after them and they’ll want to look after you.
Having fun is part of that, part of the culture you set up, and you should include fun in your cultural plan.
For now, I think we can think of making it more fun here in 2 ways – creating an enjoyable environment and things you actually do to have fun.
Remember you’ve got two teams – the admin team and the field team or site team. Try to make it fun for all of them.
And if they all work from home or on their own (or some of them), consider that too – how you generate some fun and sense of being part of something.
People like doing things with their colleagues. People like to meet in person (if that’s possible). Silliness and playfulness are good things. People like to smile and they like to laugh.
Creating An Enjoyable Environment
So let’s start with the environment and then I’ll list a bunch of things you could do to make work more fun. They’re obviously related.
For the environment, I’m really looking at you to lead by example – try to have fun and be fun to be near.
I don’t want to sound too much like Mary Poppins but leave your troubles behind and put your game face on a bit. Don’t come to work grumpy and shut yourself away. Make an effort to be happy and nice. You don’t need to be a clown but make a bit of an effort. And expect and encourage everyone else to do the same.
And what can you actually do to make things more fun?
A ping pong table, a pool table, or a football table. A toy for people to play on it if they’re not working.
In fact, a break room or specific breakout is a great idea, not just a shitty kitchen.
And this goes well with encouraging people to take their breaks together like people do on building sites or smoko but don’t do at offices so much.
One of my clients has installed a beer keg with a tap so anyone can help themselves with a cold beer.
I had the same reaction you’re having when he told me but he says it works well.
It’s right in the middle of the office so everyone can see it – you help yourself, so it’s become a thing where you have to feel like you deserve one or you’ll get called out.
Fun Activities At Work
It’s common on building sites to eat together and chat – do you do that?
If you don’t or you have multiple sites or a team who are off on their own or who eat at their desks, it’s more difficult – but how about buying lunch on Fridays? Or taking people out for lunch sometimes?
Organising cake for birthdays is a good one.
Can you take turns to prepare and bring a meal or occasion? Your business could pay. That could be fun. (I like cooking so I’d enjoy that).
A fellow business coach told me that he and his team have a daily riddle that someone writes on a whiteboard and everyone tries to solve.
Me and my team have been doing that too – a daily riddle or joke (and we do Wordle). We do it in the chat because we’re not in our office.
Christmas Parties (And Other Excuses)
A party is always fun but people also seem to enjoy other activities too so think beyond a restaurant and booze.
People like activities (not just golf) and they like hikes and picnics. Sometimes you can combine an activity or a party of some kind with work – your monthly and quarterly company meeting followed by lunch or dinner, for example. Or a meeting with pizza and beer.
One builder friend of mine does a barbecue breakfast for everyone at 7 every Friday morning. They invited me but there was no way I’d be up and ready for a 7:00 start on a Friday.
What about an escape room? Or go-karting?
Can you get together for exercise? I’ve heard of a business doing a personal trainer to run a group training session once a week. I once worked for a business that brought in a massage therapist for a day once a month so everyone could get a neck rub. Everyone loved it.
So there you go – make it more fun!
What do you do?
And if you think maybe you don’t do enough, do a bit more.
Workshop it with your team, make some decisions, and commit to them.
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See you later.