As super driven entrepreneurs we have a lot on our plate. We have To Do Lists that seem to extend to the North Pole and back. And as we get things done, ticked off and implemented more things appear on that To Do List, and the cycle continues. It’s sometimes hard to put things aside and remember to have fun. We chose this life. We chose to build businesses. We chose to take on the responsibilities that come with being a business owner. So why the serious, serious, serious face?
“The most successful business owners I know are optimistic. It’s part of the job description.” ― Caterina Fake, Founder of Flickr
Well, because it is not easy building businesses. If it was, everyone would do it. You have to be a particular type of person to go out there, back yourself and your product or service and create something from scratch. It takes hard work, smarts and grit. But when you start a business with all the passion, positivity and excitement in the world you don’t anticipate getting your grouchy face on every day.
You started your business for many reasons no doubt, but intertwined in it all I bet you wanted to be able to have the freedom to make your own decisions, create something amazing and have a lot of fun in the process.
So us Brand Brigaders would like to encourage you to remember to get your fun face on at work. It’s great for your soul, it’s good for the business and it’s amazing for your employees.
A link between fun and productivity
If work isn’t fun then it becomes a boring slog. And if something becomes boring then it’s pretty hard to keep the enthusiasm and energy flowing to keep a business operating at its utmost potential. Many studies and workplace reports show that happiness has a direct correlation to your business’ bottom line.
In particular, a study cited by Harvard Business Review is part of a growing body of research on the impact of a positive organisational environment on benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.
The research explains that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, 60% more errors and defects. When you couple the benefits of having a happy workplace with the overall improvement to your coworkers’ lives, making conscious upgrades to your culture is a no-brainer.
However, fun and workplace happiness doesn’t just happen on its own. You have to find ways to make it part of your culture.
Here are a few suggestions on how to create a fun work environment.
PROCEDURES WITH LATITUDE
Every business needs to have procedures to make a business run efficiently and smoothly. But as a business owner if you insist that every staff member has to follow procedure exactly the same way everyone else does, then you stamp out any hint of individuality. If procedures must be followed identically in every case then why do you have humans performing the work in the first place?
The first step in creating a fun environment is by looking at the work itself and allowing for creativity and individuality. You make a job more fun by giving people who perform the job more latitude over the work. When they feel like they can put their own stamp on things, everything gets better.
Company cultures that allow for play are better able to tap into the best in their employees. Play fosters innovation. It is often the fun of the unexpected that leads to the novelty of new ideas. Play unites team members. Organised play tends to have common goals and simple rules, and common goals are good for teams and their work because they align and unite people. Play allows us to bring more of ourselves to work, and we get to know others more fully. And play gives us an opportunity to blow off steam. So find ways to implement some organised play activities into your workplace. One activity we have always found useful is what we call Quacktivity. Every quarter we pull a budget out of a hat (NB we have budgets written on pieces of paper varying from $0 to $1000) and two of our staff members (they take it in turns) have to organise a fun activity for the whole team to participate in. It gives our staff ownership over the fun, and an experience to bond. We have done everything from horse riding to painting to indoor skydiving to a great race. It’s always a highlight in the calendar.
DELIVER PRAISE AND RECOGNITION OFTEN
Feeling underappreciated at work is the number one reason employees leave, according to an American study. Find ways to make your employees feel appreciated. Here’s a great little idea that we do… every week in our all staff meeting we display our company values and we invite others in the company to nominate those who have done a good job in displaying one of the values for the week and share the story. It is a great 15 to 20 minutes in our week where you can see the staff filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and it is easy to implement.
MAKE WORK FULFILLING
Everyone wants to feel like the work they are doing matters. Make sure all your staff fully understand the company’s mission and purpose. Make sure they feel like they are on that journey with you. And if you are able to have some kind of altruistic component to your company’s drive then this is a great way for your employees to feel like they really are having a positive impact on the world.
VALUE WORK / LIFE BALANCE
When staff members understand that you value them as not only an employee, but also as a person who has a life outside of work, then they will feel happier. We have implemented flexible working hours at our company. Our staff get to choose what hours they would like to work, and what hours suit their family and out of work commitments. They get to craft their own day. Now if that isn’t happiness I don’t know what is.
HIRE HAPPY PERSONALITIES
We know it sounds obvious but some people just have a happier disposition than others. They see the positive in situations and this positivity filters through. Happy people create a happy company culture. So as part of your hiring protocols look at facial expressions, responses and genuineness to make sure you are recruiting employees that have a glass half full attitude.
Life is short. It really is, those years just seem to fly by. So make sure you are building your business and you are having a whole lot of fun in the process.
Jodie + Em xx
PS. Need some support in making work more fun? Join our amazing Facebook Group of inspiring entrepreneurs to share ideas and get a little pep in your day.