A few nights ago, I had a small reunion with a team that I worked with 6 years ago. For blog readers who don’t know me well, I was the first publisher of Sensa magazine in Serbia. We launched Sensa in 2008 with a campaign that I’m still proud of and after a very short period of time, the magazine achieved great success among readers on a declining magazine market.
While remembering all those amazing moments and interesting people that we worked with, one thing was the most important spice in our Sensa kitchen at the time – having fun at work!
If I think about different jobs and projects that I worked on in the last 15 years I can tell you that the most successful were the ones where the team had a lot of fun together. That’s why I think that fun should be introduced as official KPI. Not an easy one to measure, I agree, but it’s worth trying.
People tend to take their jobs very seriously. While I’m a big supporter of being professional at work and treating your working tasks, colleagues and competitors with respect I must be very clear: taking any business-related job too seriously is, if nothing else, an issue of emotional intelligence and maturity.
With all respect toward different jobs and professions (including ones that I have done and still do) if you are not a doctor who is saving lives or an engineer constructing a bridge over a river – relax – your job is not that important for the World. And even if you don’t dedicate yourself to it so seriously, still – you will survive, everyone around you will survive and the World will still be there. Not to mention that even doctors fool around a lot and have all kinds of fun. And still most patients survive.
If you don’t take your job too seriously, you are making a first step toward having fun at work. What are the advantages of this kind of approach?
- You are more relaxed and for sure more creative. You are producing more ideas and spend less time focusing on problems, using free time to address opportunities.
- If you create fun atmosphere in the office, people will love to work with you. This way, you will keep good associates, but also you will start attracting the best ones from the outside world. Good, capable and creative people enjoy working in such environment.
- You will find much more satisfaction on a personal level and you will maintain your life balance much better. Your friends and family will appreciate that. Your office stories will become funny stories and people will like to hear about them. Instead of listening to you crying about your hard job and hard life.
How to achieve this?
- Team is the most important. Be very careful during the selection process. Don’t pick people only by their competences and skills, but also by their emotional intelligence, sense of humor and how they interact with others.
- Create opportunities to have fun and then transfer that atmosphere to your office. Start meeting in a café, or somewhere unexpected (like a spa or a gym) and then move your team’s good spirit into a working environment.
- Don’t overthink and overanalyze. Try to enjoy as much as possible. Try to be yourself, authentic and relaxed. People will appreciate that even if you are not a natural born stand-up comedian.
- Kick the people who are disturbing others in any way, preventing them from having fun or ruining the fun atmosphere out of the team
And, please don’t think that one team building and one table football in your office will do the job. It must be more than that. It must be the way we live and work daily.
In order to double check the validity of my thoughts let’s see what the opposite of having fun is and what is going on in the office in that case. The opposite is – being bored. If people are bored, it’s not just that they will not perform at their best, but very often they become very destructive, negative and in many cases, they do stupid things.
I like to say that idleness and boredom are the mother and father of stupid acts. Cheating, lying, annoying or even torturing others, in many cases starts from people who are bored and incapable of channeling their energy into a positive direction.
I’m arguing for the introduction of Chief Fun Officer. Anyhow, I was never a huge fan of CFO’s. I worked only with a few good ones. And those good ones had great sense of humor and fun in the office. So, they would not mind this new title.
Cheers to having fun at work! If you need some additional tips and tricks let me know.
And cheers to my Sensa team! Thank you for all the fun we had. After almost 10 years that’s the only important thing we remember.