Okay – so the words fun and work don’t always go together, do they? Isn’t having fun at work unprofessional? We have some good news for you: studies have shown that fun at work can boost health and productivity. In an article published by Harvard Business Review, entitled Positive Intelligence, Shawn Achor, describes Burt Bee’s former CEO John Replogle’s experiment to make work more inclusive and fun. Substantial time was spent discussing employee happiness. No one was surprised at the positive outcome.
When people are happy and have an optimistic mindset, performance improves productivity, creativity, and engagement. A common misconception is that success precedes happiness. If a target is met, the usual mindset is “then I will be happy.”; however, beginning with a positive mindset when facing a challenge will provide the “happiness advantage.”
Another piece of good news is that despite genetic predispositions, happiness can be cultivated and managed. For example, how a person interacts with others and thinks about stress can increase satisfaction and the odds for success. Based on his experience and research, Achor posits that the brain can be trained or rewired. This happens by developing new habits, even through adulthood, and is based on the brain’s neuroplasticity.
Here are Achor’s suggestions to increase your happiness advantage:
Help Your Coworkers
Positive engagement and connection with coworkers actually predict lifespan longevity as reliably as regular exercise does. In a study of 1,648 students at Harvard, Achor found that social support was the greatest predictor of happiness during periods of high stress. Make a point of helping your coworkers, it’s healthy for all of you.
Change Your Relationship With Stress
Stress cannot be avoided, but how you think about stress is something you can manage. Try to isolate the things stressing you out that you can control and make small concrete steps to nudge your brain back to the positive. Just having a plan or strategy to reduce or manage stress can reduce your stress. This way you can gain confidence in your ability to overcome challenges and meet goals.
Have Fun at Work By Incorporating Play
The evidence is clear; fun is essential. One of the challenges for successful leaders will be to create a positive and fun workplace. Suggestions include having a pet or baby show-and-tell over Zoom. In addition, try collaborative drawing, online jigsaw puzzles, or even a virtual rock paper scissors tournament.
Have Fun at Work and Encouraging Employee Bonding Even if You’re Remote-Only
This can include things such as group happy hours, shared lunches, or other events. Another suggestion is to play Rose/Thorn. Using a group chat or channel, everyone shares their “Rose,” which is any positive aspect of their day that makes them feel grateful and positive, and then their “Thorn,” which is something that challenged them that day. Rose/Thorn is a great way to encourage mutual understanding and empathy. This may otherwise be difficult to achieve when everyone is working from home. Another idea is a virtual group visit to sites like Dangrouster to visit a farm.
Have Fun at Work With Self-care:
As a group, taking some time for exercise or meditation. You could schedule group synchronized stretch breaks. Or schedule breaks to go out for coffee.
Have Fun at Work By Giving Employees What They Want:
Finally, try asking your employees or coworkers what they want. You can also offer suggestions for them to choose from.
The evidence is clear that such strategies significantly improve productivity and increase employee retention. The great thing about this is that there are so many possibilities for exploring the world of productive fun. Use your imagination.
Want more advice on enjoying your time at the workplace? The coaches at Ignite Your Potential are here to help. Reach out and take advantage of our complimentary 25-minute phone sessions.
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