Workplace Fun —Importance, Benefits & Some Tips

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  • The company had a folk called Mike “Possum” Johnson, who entertained the employees by taking on challenges in a no-holds-barred persimmon-seed-spitting contest, using the company’s general counsel as the official target.
  • One of the senior managers had to wrestle a bear after losing a bet with his crew regarding sales projections.
  • Another time, the vice-president of the company had to come dressed in pink tights and a long blonde wig and ride a white horse around the town square.
  • Once Walmart’s president was made to wear a crazy dress and ride a donkey around the store’s parking lot.
  • One of the executives used to ask even customers to play hide and seek to collect mystery prizes.
  • There was a ‘Kiss-the-pig’ contest to raise money for charity. The manager who ended up with the most donations had to kiss a pig.
  • There was a costume competition, fashion shows using senior men.
  • There’s the world championship of the ‘Moon Pie Eating’ contest.


  • One day, Jonathan lost a bet to one of his colleagues, Cindy. The stake was that the loser had to wash the winner’s car. Cindy rented a stretch Hummer, splashed mud as much as possible, and then gathered her team to watch Jonathan clean the giant SUV. She and her teammates also pelted him with water balloons while Jonathan washed the Hummer.
  • Jonathan and his team used to take several outdoor trips in a year to have fun. They also had various competitive games to energize people and form a bond.
  • Once, Eric led the entire Seoul team in dancing “Gangnam Style” with Korean pop star PSY. Of course, he was very poor at dancing. But Eric writes, “When you’re a leader, everyone is watching, so it doesn’t matter that you dance poorly, it matters that you dance.”


  • Team members get to know each other as people with families and fascinating lives outside of work
  • It would get everyone involved in the meeting from the outset in a fun way. There would be a lot of humor and laughter.






  • Plester and Hutchison classify workplace fun into three forms — Managed fun, organic fun, and task fun. 1) Managed Fun means officially packaged fun that is deliberately organized by the company to meet strategic objectives. Avoid it as much as possible. 2) Organic Fun — A phenomenon that occurs naturally with individuals. A leader has to create an environment where organic fun thrives. It includes hiring the right people. 3) Task Fun — The work itself has fun components in it. The management should actively encourage employees to build elements of fun into the job themselves.
  • Design activities for having fun and not for team building.
  • Employees should be empowered to think up crazy ideas to bring enjoyment and pleasure into the work environment themselves. The management’s job is to provide necessary support and resources.
  • Encourage employees’ informal gatherings after work with immediate supervisors. Such meetings break the communication barriers between them. It drives the supervisor/manager to care for his employee — Caring helps him give candid feedback. Employee performance improves in leaps and bounds.
  • Bolton & Houlihan writes, “One critical thing to remember is that not all employees like to have fun at work, especially when it is a packaged official fun in which all employees are ‘supposed’ to participate.” Participating in fun activities should be voluntary and not forced. Respect everyone’s likes/dislikes.
  • As much as possible, avoid fun activities that involve a day out during a weekend.
  • Celebrate small wins and little successes.
  • Encourage Socializing at the workplace — A right environment that encourages employees to socialize with coworkers strengthens the quality of workplace relationships. Studies also show that socialization has improved collaboration, communication, and candidness among employees, resulting in higher productivity. It also prevents mistrust and unhealthy competition among people. It’s beneficial both to the company and the employee. Kim Scott writes, “Some companies put a lot of effort into bringing employees together outside of the office. While retreats and parties can be productive if people on your team really want them, it is best to remember that mostly you get to know people you work with on the job, every day, as an integrated part of the work rhythm, not at the annual holiday party. Spending time with people from work in a more relaxed setting, without the pressure of work deadlines, can be a good way to build relationships. Meeting each other’s families, walking together, picnics — When management introduces these events, it would feel both obligatory and forced. You are already spending a lot of hours every day with your colleagues and direct reports. Use that time to build relationships.”
  • The company has to pay for at least half of practically any activities that people want to do together.
  • Encourage people to set up clubs based on shared common interests.
  • Pay for food and drink for those who host potluck dinners at their houses.
  • Have a common house where employees can host events and celebrations.
  • Like Bill Campbell, add fun to meetings.
  • Allow people to customize their place of work in creative and weird ways. It allows people to take pride in their work. Organize a day where employees can invite their mothers, fathers, wives, and children to come in and see their working places.
  • Share stories of your employees throughout the organization and also to your customers.
  • Keep Them Crowded — The design of the work environment should force interaction between people. Jonathan Rosenberg writes, “When you visit Google, you will find a series of cubicles that are crowded, messy, and a petri dish for creativity.” He adds, “Your coworkers should be nearby. When you spin around and wave your arms, you should hit someone. You cannot have a conversation over your phone without coworkers hearing you.” Jonathan adds that offices should be designed to maximize energy and interactions, not for isolation and status. Crowded offices brim with hectic energy. Workplace Fun thrives when people interact more with each other. At the same time, employees should always have the option to retire to a quiet place for creative brainstorming or for personal reasons.





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