What are some ways of making the work environment fun?

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to set up an environment of fun and play for your company.

Here are some ideas:

  • Celebrations. Celebrate business successes and milestones, personal milestones such as birth of a baby, marathons completed. On the business anniversary hold brand-themed days (even if it’s just wearing the brand colours).
  • Themed days. Dress up for national holidays (not just for your nation!) or special occasions, such as St Patrick’s Day or the start of the Olympics. Serve food related to the theme. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top or expensive, just creative.
  • Silly dress days. For example set the last Friday of the month as a silly dress day, even if it’s silly ear-rings or crazy socks.
  • Fun decor. Encourage creative, fun decoration of workspaces, putting things there that lighten their days.
  • Ice cream parties. Throw random ice cream parties. Add balloons and noisemakers.
  • Encourage joke-telling. Maybe even start official meetings with the telling of a joke. Put up a board for people to post their favourite jokes or cartoons.
  • Toys. Have a ready supply of noisemakers or nerf guns or gag joke toys or huge Angry Birds toys. Visit the toy store and look for things which could add some elements of fun.
  • Birthdays. Present gag gifts.
  • Mini-golf. Play mini-golf in the office hallways.
  • Music. Announce the start of meetings with silly or motivational music. Play “The Final Countdown” at the end of an agile sprint, or “The Eye of the Tiger” to announce a meeting.
  • Random lunches. Throw random lunches, such as with pizza or sandwiches, where everyone, including management, takes time out to chat.
  • Contests. Award the best themed costume. Hold a baking contest: see who can bake the best cake. See who can make the best paper airplane.
  • Fun pass. Reward employees with a pass to have fun by _________.
  • Room names. Think of silly names for the meeting rooms.

From ddod

We’re all kids at heart, so think “what would a kid like to do that would be fun?”.

Then there are the more simple things, such as spending a few minutes at the start of Monday to catch up on the weekend’s happenings.

Make the whole environment positive. That may mean changing the music being played in the restrooms. Or adding photos of employees having fun around the walls of the office. Adding colour to the office stimulates creativity (get rid of those neutral walls and colours).

Encourage employees to find their own style of fun – not everyone has to be the same!

Let customers know that you are a fun company, too, and see how you can extend that to dealings with customers or suppliers.

Find out what would be of value to your employees, how they would like to add fun to the work environment.

Commit to fun, to a sense of humour, and look for ways to exercise it at any time. Work towards it, and bit by bit the fun environment will develop.


What’s the value in fun and silliness in the workplace?

In looking at what makes a company good to work for, one value for many companies is “having a sense of humour and fun and silliness”. Doesn’t that mean unproductive time? Why have those companies decided that fun is important? Where’s the ROI on fun?

Providing a fun environment increases happiness, lowers stress and increases morale. Happy people are likely to be more productive, more creative, care more about their work, and less likely to be absent.

If people are more relaxed, they’re also more accepting of others, and feel more free to openly communicate. Inhibitions will fade away. They’ll be more flexible. This all contributes to better teams.

Laughter IS the best medicine. It increases endorphins, exhilarating, increases oxygen in the blood, lowers stress, and builds immunity.

Setting up fun occasions cuts across departments, with people getting to know each other who might never do so. That sets up the environment for improved collaboration, for better problem-solving, for generation of ideas.

Appropriate use of jokes and playfulness can ease tensions, to help mindset changes and viewing problems from different perspectives.

It’s in that environment of openness and lightness that people can be their best. The flip-side of that is if it’s all seriousness, then people burn out, can’t communicate freely, shut down into their little worlds, and just do the minimum required.

Professionalism does not equate with seriousness. It’s more than OK to have fun at work.

“Work hard, play hard” really does work. Having “fun and a sense of humour” as part of the company values helps provide the environment for all of the other values to work.