Follow the 3 C’s When Planning Workplace Fun

Fun activities at work should come in short 15-minute spurts and make everyone on your team feel comfortable.

If you’re striving to make your business more efficient and effective, maybe it’s time to take a new look at how you encourage workplace fun. But how does “fun” build efficiency for your portable sanitation business?

Imagine a program for workplace fun in which employees actually attend and are engaged. Your staff would be more apt to connect, communicate and bond as a team over a longer-term, more sustainable time period. Sounds amazing, right?

A healthy program for fun at work follows the three C’s: consistency, on company time and culture compliance. Let’s take a closer look at why these factors are so important:

Consistency

The traditional model for workplace fun generally involves two high-profile events where employees connect and share, celebrate and bond: the company picnic and the holiday party.

You might spend months preparing for these celebrations, and they can be valuable for your team. But any morale boost they produce is fleeting, maybe just a few days or a week. Before you know it, your employees may fall into a rut of apathy about the workplace, at least until the next special event many months later. This apathy and lack of motivation and connection costs you money, productivity and loyalty.

Rather than planning two large events each year, you should focus on consistent delivery of engagement. When it comes to fun in the workplace, consistency is key and should help make fun feel as typical to the staff as the rush-hour commute or weekly meetings.

Fun is like exercise. Stick to a consistent regimen, and you’ll enjoy long-lasting results. So get out your calendar and a red pen, and select the dates for consistent fun. Monthly fun programs are an easy starting point.

On company time

Studies concerning work-family balance show employees value their time with family and friends much more today than ever before. Time is among the most highly valued “commodities.” Yet company leaders hesitate to schedule fun events on company time. Doing so, they believe, impacts productivity and is a distraction. Thus, plans are often made to usurp valuable downtime for employee engagement events, scheduled during evening hours or weekends.

Work is stressful enough, and fun activities help employees blow off some steam and stress and reset their perspective of their colleagues and daily tasks. That’s why fun should happen on company time, and fun should take less than 15 minutes.

Many companies keep employees busy until the workday ends. What happens at the end of the day? That’s the time reserved for the mandatory happy hour and team dinner, of course. That doesn’t sound like fun for anyone. The period of “fun” is too long and disrupts family time.

Consider instead a 15-minute icebreaker first thing in the morning to set the tone for a productive day, followed by a brief team activity after lunch to energize the group for the rest of the day. Then, at 4 p.m., send the crew home for some downtime. Be a superhero and save the company some serious money on booze and food for the evening!

It’s also easier to attract talent and start adopting a culture of fun when it’s delivered in short stints. This is not to say there is no place for moderate to lengthy fun events. But strive for consistent fun on company time in lieu of fewer events with longer duration.

Culture compliance

The last of the 3 C’s – culture compliance – may not seem difficult. After all, who doesn’t want to have fun? Compliance speaks to more than the concept of legalities.

Compliant fun will integrate with your company’s culture and bylaws and encourage everyone to participate in their own way.

First, make sure you have a good sense of the likes, dislikes, tolerances and intolerances of your workers. Too many “fun” programs are really aimed at one or two people – often those few who planned the event. Is that really fun, effective or fair? Second, fun needs to appeal to extroverts and introverts alike. Some employees will gladly do the limbo; others will prefer watching. Everyone should feel comfortable enough to play along in their own way.

The key to success? Allow team members to define their own fun. Listen. And plan events that allow for a variety of different kinds of participation.

TIME FOR FUN

Next time you’re considering fun programming, make the activities consistent, on company time and compliant to culture. Then watch your culture change and your workplace fun programs become more efficient and effective.


Nat Measley is CEO and managing partner at The Fun Dept. and co-author of Playing it Forward: The Definitive ‘How To’ Model for Creating a Winning Workplace Culture. Reach Nat at www.TheFunDept.com.  



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