Having Fun at Work is Good Business

Zappos founder Tony Hsieh Delivering Happiness

Creating a workplace where people play and have fun is good business.  A fun work environment leads to more creativity, increased group cohesiveness, less conflict, less stress, and less turnover.  It is also a great way to attract new employees.

In his book Shine, Dr. Edward Hallowell argues that peak performance is impossible without play.  Play engages the imagination, which is responsible for all great discoveries.  It is especially critical in today’s conceptual age where creative, right brain thinking is what is needed to excel.

There are many different ways to infuse the workplace with fun.  You can play games, celebrate obscure holidays, or encourage people to decorate their offices in fun ways or to wear costumes to work on Halloween.  Events involving food, like picnics or chili cook-offs, are almost always a hit.  Some companies pick fun names for meeting rooms, like Play-Doh and Lincoln Logs rooms at Apple or Paris and Rio de Janeiro rooms at IBM.  And how much fun must it be to come up with the logos on Google’s homepage?

Zappos has created a culture that values being fun and a little weird.  You can see how much fun they have by watching the Delivering Happiness Happy Rap.  According to Zappos:

one of the side effects of encouraging weirdness is that it encourages people to think outside the box and be more innovative. When you combine a little weirdness with making sure everyone is also having fun at work, it ends up being a win-win for everyone: Employees are more engaged in the work that they do, and the company as a whole becomes more innovative.

What does your company do to make work fun?  I’d love to hear your stories!

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About Beth Cabrera

An expert in organizational psychology, Beth works with companies to help them create and maintain positive work environments where people thrive. Her approach, based on cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology, is extremely effective in developing leaders, building teams, and advancing careers. Dr. Cabrera’s expertise was gained through years of experience teaching, conducting research, and advising organizations on how to maximize employee engagement and performance. Her research has been published in over 25 articles in some of the world’s leading academic and professional journals.

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