Let’s be real – waking up every morning and going to the office can suck. It sucks even if you like your job… that’s why people like weekends so much. But until we find a different way (if you have – please let me know… lol) we can try to incorporate some leisure on the clock. Blurring even further the boundaries between work and “life”. For me, that little bit of fun is what makes all the difference.
There are so many reasons why fun in the office is the future of work. Research shows that happy people are 12% more productive than ‘normal’ people. Happy employees are healthier, more inclined to communication and collaboration and more creative. Nowadays fun at the workplace is crucial – people are becoming more and more aware of their happiness and increasingly demanding a better work-life balance. Besides, do I really need to convince you why fun is always a good idea??
FOOD. No need to elaborate on the happiness food brings us, right? Your lunch break is a great opportunity for some on-the-job leisure time.
1. Have lunch together with your co-workers. It’s a great way to know people better and catch up. Once in a while try to eat with someone new or different – it’s also refreshing and a good networking opportunity.
2. Have a potluck lunch. This way you can save money by bringing food from home and also get to try tasty foods your co-workers bring. If you want to take it a step further – make it a themeג potluck (Mexican, Italian, all green foods, film-based theme – all could work…)
3. Mix things up. Don’t let your lunch break become a boring routine. If you usually bring food from home – go out for lunch once in a while. If you have a regular lunch spot- change it up.
4. Unless you absolutely have to – do not eat at your desk staring at your screen (!) especially if that’s what you do all day long. Put down the phone and give your eyes a break too.
5. Add some leisure to your break – read a book (or a blog), listen to a podcast, do a crossword puzzle, practice mindfulness, stretch etc.
6. Office night-out – Once in a while go out to a pub for food and drinks. Celebrate achievements, birthdays and just connect on a personal level in a less stressed, more comfortable environment.
7. Celebrate achievements – Each time an important goal is reached at the office – celebrate it! Gather your team and order a pizza or bring a cake (Have I mentioned already I’m a huge foodie and all I can think about most of the time is food?). Whenever you celebrate, make sure somebody says a couple of words of appreciation for the achievement.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” | Albert Einstein
8. Celebrate the Holidays as An Office – You probably see your co-workers more than your family. Celebrate the holidays together with them. A day or two in advance – have a big meal together, exchange gifts or have an office party and toast the upcoming holiday!
9. Celebrate Birthdays – Mention each co-workers birthday. Even symbolically. Decorate their desk, bring some balloons and a cake. You can even collect a small amount of money from everybody and buy a symbolic present. No matter what it is – it’s the thought that counts.
10. Celebrate the weekend – Just before everybody goes off to their own weekend plans getter together and have a treat – ice-cream, cake, fresh fruits or even a glass of wine (Yes yes food again…). Share your weekend plans with each other and start to get excited about your upcoming leisure.
11. Have an office “Fun committee”. Fun is no joke so make sure there are people in charge of organizing all these good times. Get people engaged with all the leisure planning and assign tasks – sometimes thinking about having fun is a fun activity in itself.
We spend more than a third of our lives at the office- don’t you think it should be a place with good energies that make us feel good? You don’t even need to spend much to make it nice.
12. When changing your home décor – bring the stuff you don’t need to the office – candles, picture frames or even a vase.
13. Personalize your desk with Family and pet photos.
14. Put up inspirational photos from your bucket list, pictures or notes of goals you set for yourself as a daily reminder.
15. Add a plant or two.
As a matter of fact, anything that will make you smile when you look at it works.
Listening to music causes your brain to release dopamine which is known as a ‘feel good’ chemical. It causes us to feel emotions like happiness, excitement, joy, etc. Listening to music provides us with the same burst of happiness that we would get from eating a piece of chocolate, sex or certain drugs. As simple as that. Feeling a bit gloomy today? Crank up the tunes and get your groove on. Even better? Sing along out loud with the music or get up for a little dance session at your desk. Of course, if your singing voice is as good as mine – please apologize in advance to your co-workers.
In between major tasks or meetings take a short break. Sounds pretty basic but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t even get up of their chair for hours. Get outside for a breath of fresh air, go for a short walk around the block, stretch, make yourself a cup of coffee and grab a little snack. This small pause will bring you back refreshed and ready to be even more productive.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” | Helen Keller
You’re not alone in your desire to have fun. Share your desires with coworkers and motivate each other to keep a “leisure state of mind” on the job.
18. Share what makes you laugh. Create a joke board or just send funny gifs to one another.
19. Create happiness boosting challenges with your co-workers. For example, Start a 30-Day Happiness Challenge or a 100 days of gratitude one. For everyone to stay engaged, choose your favorite social media platform, create your own group/channel/hashtag and share with them what made you feel good today. The daily “need to report” will keep you all on track. all for one and one for all.
Smiling is good for you. Smiling is an easy way to boost your mood, be healthier, feel better, and be viewed as more trustworthy. Not to mention, studies even show that smiling will actually make you happier – fake it until you make it kind of thing.
Moreover, happiness is contagious. When you smile and laugh, others around you will do the same. So go ahead and spread some happiness around and it will come back to you several times around. Give up the notion that professionalism means being a serious sourpuss all the time. You can totally be on top of things and still crack a joke once in a while.
In conclusion, Work doesn’t have to be all business, all the time. Like I always say, Balance is key. Of course, you need to maintain your professionalism, keep responsibilities and deadlines a priority — but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break or engage in some work-hours-leisure. Furthermore, having fun at work will make you even more creative and productive.
It doesn’t have to be big, any fun you can infuse into your day is better than nothing. Start slowly with a few activities and communicate your desire to create a more enjoyable work environment. Remember: even Rome wasn’t built in a day. change doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t give up.
Important to realize not everything is always possible in every work situation, I know that. But (!) If you want your surroundings to change you have to change your mindset. Try to generate positive energy around you all day long. Sure, It feels good to vent now and then – Who doesn’t love to complain? try not to make a habit out of it. Instead, every time somebody complains around you, try to think/say something positive about your work. You won’t believe how much this improves your level of happiness.
How do you have fun at work? Are you able to maintain a “leisure state of mind” even on the clock? Let me know in the comments below.