Many years ago, a marvellous book written by Dr Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen called FISH, encouraged leaders to create some fun in the workplace through the use of play.
For those locked in the view of work being a serious activity, the idea of people being able to play at work is horrific. Yet we increasingly see the benefits of people being able to enjoy their time at work in terms of personal well-being, creativity and productivity.
Fun and productivity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
In areas such as health care and education it is easier to see how a positive, joyful environment increases the mood and welfare of patients and the student learning.
But that shouldn’t preclude people working in an industrial plant, in retail, in public service or manufacturing from using their creativity to find ways to have some fun.
A good example was illustrated by Air New Zealand with the health and safety announcements made to passengers prior to take-off.
This is a very important and highly regulated process for any airline, however, we know it is often ignored by many passengers who have either heard it many times before or find the presentation uninteresting.
Following the success of the filming of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, the airline decided to use some of the characters from the film to present their safety messages.
The result was an amusing presentation that most passengers watched willingly and thus absorbed the safety messages.
This approach also relieved the Air New Zealand staff from the frustration of trying to gain the attention of passengers.
Fun doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or take too much time. Asking staff for their suggestions will get the ideas started.
Supporting all ideas in the early stages will encourage others to come forward.
Give a group the task of selecting and implementing the best ideas. The ideas don’t need to be the equivalent of a Las Vegas show or Broadway musical.
Typically they are whimsical ideas or things that lift the spirits of staff and customers. For example; decorating the workspace with baby photos of all staff, giving every customer a chocolate heart on Valentines Day, or having a pet day once a year when staff can bring their pets to work.
One small step in the next 24 hours
Form a Fun Committee and buy all the committee members a copy of FISH.
Ask them to speak to as many staff as possible and come back with recommendations on how they could make your workplace more fun-filled.
Allow them to try out their number one recommendation. It doesn’t matter if it is not a roaring success; it will at least start the process of creating a more enjoyable workplace.