One question I often get is how formal or relaxed should your company culture be? How strict should you be on employee behavior? I always encourage business owners to think about and be deliberate in determining what they want their company culture to be. One thing to consider is how do employees work best.
Traditional working patterns don’t always work
Consider the ‘typical’ office environment for a moment. Traditionally, a typical working day in the office might be split into an 8-hour shift, punctuated by a 30-minute lunch break, and two shorter 15-minute breaks. While this might work well for some environments, it’s not always going to be the most productive work pattern for everyone.
The Harvard Business Review says that employers should consider the Circadian Rhythm when setting schedules. Fortune advises that you should work in 90-minute cycles, making sure you take a break after each cycle. The website Magic Work Cycle advocates a 30-minutes work, 30-minutes play approach.
I’m not saying any of these are the right approach. What I’m pointing out is that what might seem to obviously be the most productive strategy, isn’t always the case. For example, some of the above techniques include far less ‘working’ time than the traditional office environment. But many people report greater employee output when using them.
Three reasons having fun at work could be good for your business
There is some pretty compelling evidence suggesting that letting employees have fun at work is a good thing. For example:
How to help employees have fun at work
There are plenty of ways to encourage a little more fun in the workplace. You don’t have to go as far as writing fun into your employee handbook, but you can create an environment where fun is celebrated, not sniffed at.
Creating office games and leagues can be a good place to start, but you don’t even need to be quite so formal or structured. Simply providing the facilities for having fun – such as a well-equipped recreation room with ping pong tables or a video game console – can help you to get the ball rolling if you’ll pardon the pun. Just don’t make employees feel guilty for actually using them!
Another approach is to simply make sure you’re taking your teams out and spending quality time together, even if it’s just for a relaxed team lunch at a local restaurant. Or maybe you bring in ice cream one afternoon or pay a massage therapist to provide chair massages.
There are lots of things you can do to create a more fun work environment. Why not create a fun committee with a cross-section of employees and see what ideas they come up with?