Yes, Fun at Work Matters
It Adds to Profits. You want that, right?
I don’t usually get calls from businesses that are doing great. My phone rings when there are problems. It’s what I do. Early in my discussions, I ask the question, “Are you having any fun at work?” Often, I don’t have to ask because there will be a list of problems taking the fun out of work for most. The first little push-back I get is when I explain that fun is essential to profits.
You won’t see people who are very successful and hate what they are doing. Exceptions are people who are ready for the next challenge or want to do more but must wait for other pieces to come together. Still, the get pleasure from their work. The fair question is, “are they having fun because they are successful or successful because they are having fun?” The answer is both. If the success dries up, it stops being fun. If something kills the fun, such as a partnership problem, the success declines.
It might be hard to measure the direct correlation, but it’s there. I have seen it too many times to deny it. I have worked on business plans with failing operations and seen things improve. Once someone says that they are enjoying their business, the results progress at a much faster rate. I have seen this again and again. It makes sense. Working with positive and enthusiastic people spreads energy. Production departments that are lagging will suddenly see a boost in both output and quality when people start to have fun. Sales improve too. Customers don’t want to buy from someone they know is miserable.
After getting one business on a much better course, the owner told me that he looked forward to getting to work for the first time in 3 years. He made that statement before we saw the early results of the changes made. I’m convinced that the success we experienced was in large part due to the new enthusiasm the owners had for their business.
This works at the mid-levels of management as well. I told a recent client that we can make a bunch of new rules and policies that will help get your business turned around, but if the manager likes these changes and puts them in play in fun ways, you will get more return on the program, and it will be lasting. Sadly, the manager saw the changes as ‘more work’ and merely ‘did what he was told to do’. Business improved but I wasn’t happy. I knew we could do better. I would have looked for a new manager.
What is fun at work? Playing games? Wasting time? Lowering standards? Casual Friday?
No, fun at work is giving people some say in their work. Asking the question, “what would you do to improve business?” is the first step. Trying what they suggest is the next. Then you must measure the success and spread the word. People like to be an important member of a winning team. It all starts with listening.
I can help you find ways to bring fun to your business, but the first step is yours. Ask yourself, “is this a fun place to work?”.
If the answer is “no”, do something about it.
Chris Reich, TeachU
Yes, fun matters. If you’re not having any fun at your business, shake things up.