Going to work should be fun, shouldn’t it? Yes of course there are decisions to be made, budgets to look grave about, deadlines to meet, and often the message we need to communicate is important and serious. But for creativity to flourish, and as a way of coping with the stresses associated with a high-pressured environment, isn’t it time to make work more fun? Naomi Cain of Source, creative recruitment specialists in London, shares some creative ideas for how to make work more fun on a day to day basis, which will stimulate creativity and improve morale.
The Advantages When You Make Work More Fun
None of us want to work in a dour and miserable environment, but are there are any tangible benefits to making work more fun? The good news is yes; we can have fun at work and enjoy benefits such as increased profitability and staff loyalty. By making work more fun, not only will you be greeted with happy, smiley faces every morning; your agency will also reap the rewards.
- One key benefit to our industry is that fun stimulates creativity. Fun activities lessen inhibitions and increases confidence, allowing employees to share ideas without worrying that they may be perceived as silly by others. The knock on effect of stimulating creativity is that productivity increases and so does profitability.
- Another benefit to employers is that making work fun boosts morale and relieves stress. Laughter reduces the levels of hormones that create stress, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and boosts cardiovascular fitness. Going that extra mile to make work more fun, makes employees feel appreciated, generates loyalty and increases productivity. Fun will help you retain and attract top talent to your agency and reduce turnover costs.
How to Make Work More Fun
Many of the agencies we work with have an ethos of making work fun. In our experience it’s most successful when applied across an agency’s culture. Not just a one-off away day or at the annual Christmas party, but throughout the year, in small ways as well as big gestures. Remember that not everyone will find your idea of fun; fun. While a team building session to make ice-cream may appeal to the sweet-toothed amongst us, it might not tick the lactose intolerant box! If in doubt, ask your employees what would make their working lives more fun. To get you started, here are a few ideas you could introduce at your agency:
Getting everyone together to share food is a great way to relieve stress and boost morale. Eating together gives staff the opportunity to get to know each other, particularly those people who don’t come in regular contact with one another. Not only are you feeding your employees, ensuring they have fuel to work later on, but you are also team building at the same time.
Agency Karmarama have footy tables, a popcorn machine and ping pong in their reception area. Back in September they held their 10th annual Karmarama Open Ping Pong tourney, with £500 up for grabs. Having a games area provides staff with the opportunity to break up their day with light relief, as well as giving your agency a focus for organised games nights and inter-department competitions.
Most London agencies have pretty impressive premises, certainly the client areas. Does this carry through to those corners that clients don’t get to see? An uninspiring studio is not going to be a hive of creativity. Fortunately some agencies do take their employees environment seriously, seriously fun! Take Google for example, whose London offices boast a double decker bus, bumper car meeting rooms, and who allowed their engineering department to vote on their own space; hence the Sci-Fi décor.
Happy Hour and Nights Out
Here at Source we’ve been known to enjoy a few glasses of orange juice on a Friday night. Happy Hour is an institution in some agencies and you can see why; it’s the perfect way to unwind and de-stress at the end of a busy week. However, it’s not for everyone. Fun activities should be voluntary, some employees may just want to get home for the weekend, rather than start it partying with you. This is OK; find something they want to do another time.
Classes and activities
Yoga, spinning and boxing classes? Jamming in your own agency recording studio? Or a beer tasting session? Group activities are great for encouraging co-operation and team building. Lots of people join group exercise classes with a bunch of strangers, so why not give staff a perk such as a free class, and reap the benefits of this shared experience?
One-off days out, whether jollies to the seaside or team building activities such as Blind Landrover Driving, will give your agency a boost once in a while. However in isolation they do not have long lasting effects. Whilst staff may look forward to the annual Christmas party, it’s not enough to keep them engaged for the rest of the year. This is why some companies’ attempts at forced frivolity backfire so spectacularly; employees are not used to having fun at work. They drink too much, they embarrass themselves and no one has the skills to deal with the aftermath.
So do you have fun at work? As an employee are you more likely to stay with an agency that has a fun work ethic over an agency offering more money but less fun? Employers, do you provide your staff with opportunities to have fun, what works for you?
Source provides recruitment services for employers and jobseekers in the creative sectors in London, primarily serving advertising and creative agencies.