I love when people tell me their workplace is a fun place to work. I usually follow up with a question asking them what makes it fun. What follows are usually descriptions about getting together with people after work or during lunch and doing fun things; the occasional ice cream social or bagel Fridays. When I worked for Avon many years ago we used to take a walk down to the local amusement park at lunchtime and ride the roller coaster a couple of times. It certainly built camaraderie with my peers. It certainly allowed for some blowing off of steam during stressful work periods. That was fun. But did that make the work fun? Heck, I even sell an ebook 50 Ways To Have Fun At Work - which is important. But again, does that make the work fun? (Actually some of them do.)
If you’re going to say your workplace is a fun place shouldn’t the work itself be fun? When I founded One Less Meal Inc, operator of the Double D Diner: The World’s Only Vitual Dinier Fighting Hunger I wanted it to be fun. I wanted people to be engaged. Yes, we’re a charity. Yes, we want your money. We want you to donate; large or small amounts to help feed hungry people. But we opened a Virtual Diner; with silly menu items and descriptions. When you order a birthday cupcake we have fun writing funny messages to people. We’re working hard to make it interactive. Where possible we deliver your donations in Superhero (aka HungerHero) style to recipients and let you see the fun side of people who volunteer their time to help feed the hungry. I believe we really have put the FUN in FUNdraising – another comment I see and hear organizations overuse; but misunderstand.
If a workplace is going to call itself fun, shouldn’t the work itself be fun?
Here’s a couple of quick examples:
- I recently attended a trade show where one of the booths sold toys. Not one person was playing with a toy. Every salesperson had a clipboard in their hands. If I were the Head of the Sales Team I’d demand they play; to be using the product. I’d fire them if they were holding clipboards. First of all, I’m sure they would enjoy their days sitting in a trade show booth a bit better; but it might also engage them as well as the customer. Also, as a customer I am totally frustrated when it is clear your employees have no clue about your product.
- Or how about a clothing store. What if the clothing store had a fashion show running all day long. Yep, have your employees model the clothes you’re selling. And make them change outfits a few times per day. Let them wear their favorites; and I’ll bet engagement with the employees and the customers increases.
These are just two things that come to mind. I’ve got many to share.
Bottom line………….if you’re gonna say you’re a fun place to work it is time to add the most important element to the mix……it’s time to not only have fun at work, but to make the work fun too!