How to Balance Fun and Productivity in the Workplace

Happy people are more productive, and fun is a key component of happiness.

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Here's what you need to know about balancing fun and productivity in the workplace:

  • Intentionally bringing fun into the workplace increases productivity.
  • Evaluate your company culture before moving toward this approach - it won't work in toxic cultures.
  • Employees may initially be resistent - until the fun starts.
  • Incorporating fun into the workplace can increase effectiveness and ROI.

Businesses and employees have weathered a lot over the past few years. Some examples include the quick pivot to remote work, the nearly constant personal and professional stress of the pandemic, and the start-stop timeline of the return to work, just to name a few.

And for employees, as the lines between home and office disappeared altogether, so did any semblance of work-life balance.

It’s been tough.

That’s why ensuring work is a positive force in our lives has perhaps never been more important.

Employee Perspective Has Shifted

In the early pandemic, we saw employees cling to their jobs in the face of global economic uncertainty. We have experienced the opposite over the past year. Dubbed The Great Resignation, more American workers have voluntarily left their jobs than any other time on record. Many departing employees point to a negative view of their workplace’s handling of the pandemic, while others say they’ve:

  • Gained fresh perspective
  • Established new priorities
  • Chosen to seek the opportunity to earn more money.

But one thing’s for sure — workers won’t tolerate a negative work environment any longer.

While injecting some fun into the workplace won’t do much if you have a toxic culture, it can help buoy an otherwise positive work environment. Below are some tips for workplace leaders and HR professionals looking to balance fun with productivity in the workplace.

What is the link between a productive and fun workplace?

Put simply, happy people are more productive, and fun is a key component of happiness. Happy people also tend to have better overall well-being, which is closely linked to personal and organizational health. Well-being is:

Worker well-being also has significant implications for organizations. Studies have shown that companies with higher rates of worker well-being experience less absenteeism and work-related errors. Another study found that “employees who are happy with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay with the organization.”

What does a lighter environment bring your company?

It’s hard to have happy, healthy employees without a positive workplace environment.

One quick way to support positivity in the workplace is by balancing productivity with fun. Adding a bit of fun to the workplace can:

So, let’s look at some tips to create some of that fun and productivity balance in your organization

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4 Tips to balance productivity and fun with your staff

Incorporate rapport building wherever possible

Building rapport is all about connection, so intentionally create and allow moments for employees to do so throughout the day. This can be as simple as a fun icebreaker before meetings, scheduling a few minutes for water cooler chat before a team call, or arranging for something more formal, like dedicated team-building activities.

Foot the lunch bill

Sharing meals is a natural way to bring people together. Add some fun and levity to the workplace by periodically organizing team lunches — and footing the bill! Be sure to leave out the Lunch and Learn agenda. These lunch breaks should be all about connecting.

Organize team activities

Chili contests, volunteering as a team, and murder mystery games sound lame — until you actually try them. While we all know the complaints against “organized fun,” the fact is that partaking in activities almost always makes you feel good. You’re bound to connect with co-workers and feel proud about the work you’ve put in.

Make sure the workplace is checking all the other boxes

Creating opportunities for fun will fall flat if the workplace is toxic. Employees won’t let their guard down enough to fully participate, while others will find the attempts inauthentic. Before trying to balance fun and productivity in the workplace, be sure the company is prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), supporting work-life balance, ensuring open communication, and offering employees the resources they need to do great work.

When you put in the effort to create a healthy and positive work environment, it will pay off in positive ways you might not anticipate. Can you imagine being able to see positive ROI as a result of changing how your office approaches the workday?

Balancing fun and productivity supports better results

Today, employers are on the hook for providing more than just a paycheck. Employees expect businesses to support their holistic well-being while offering opportunities for growth and advancement.

A positive workplace environment — and one that balances productivity with fun — is not only a worker expectation but leads to better business outcomes. Thankfully for workplace leaders and HR professionals, Workest has all the resources you need to support a fun and productive workplace. Join 65,000 other small business owners and HR professionals and subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on how to support your workforce.

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