The other Saturday, I took our granddaughter to meet her mum and on the way, we started playing I spy. It was so funny, as it was amazing what Grace could see and the letters that she used. It’s as if at that age they can be so creative and they can let their imagination soar and be adaptive.
What happens to us as adults? We put ourselves in boxes, follow the crowd and generally shut down our imagination and creative mind. As Employers and Leaders do we encourage the ability to be imaginative and creative. I’m not convinced that we do.
Fun is essential in the workplace at times. Allowing people to find laughter and show their true selves creates bonds, trust and generates the wildest ideas turning into something that creates engagement, releases stress and new ideas for the business.
I can recall the times I carried out fun activities in the workplace such as a fuddle and a silly hat competition (my hat showed the teddy bear picnic and I didn’t win the competition!), Valentine’s day hiding love hearts around the workplace and people finding them and winning a small prize, to playing children skittles and children’s golf before a managers meeting. One meeting the Manager’s worked in pairs to craft an Easter basket and chicks. What was brilliant was that people paired together who didn’t normally work together and it created lovely teamwork. On every occasion, we carried out fun activities productivity dipped but the subsequent performance far outstripped what we had lost and it meant people were more engaged and ready to explore ideas where we had problems. It was a win: win situation.
Doing these fun activities was fascinating watching relationships improve across teams and problem-solving become more positive. As time went on, I started to see teams develop their own idea of fun from mince pie tasting to the best chocolate tasting to bowling. What was interesting was watching diversity come into play and seeing a team build who supported and looked after each other and actually trusted each other.
So, would I do anything differently around fun….no other than I always wanted to get the managers to put on a murder mystery in work time and I’m still working on that one!
Interestingly, the Fortune 100 companies score well on fun, so if that doesn’t tell you it’s something you need to include in your workplace, I don’t know what will!