Why Adding Fun to the Workplace is Serious Business

You’ve probably heard a variation on this exchange many times:

I don’t want to go in. My job is grueling.

It’s a job. It’s not supposed to be fun.

By you’ve also probably heard this saying:

If you have a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. 

I’ve worked at both kinds of jobs. Exhausting and grueling jobs to the one I enjoy today. Where was I more productive? Definitely at the one I'm working at now! I left the grueling ones for some other saps.

Where’s the Fun

I’m not an anomaly. There are 80 million millennials in the workforce, 88 percent of which value a fun and social work environment.

Fun isn’t about less work and goofing around. (Well, I guess it could be, it’s just not the type of fun we’re talking about here.) The definition of a fun work envirnoment is a place that's positive, and you look foward to walking through the door. It's a place where you have a "good time" while achieving your goals. And it's a place where the passion you feel is also felt by clients and customers.

Bottom Line — Fun is Money

Fun is also important to the bottom line. A fun (aka positive) work environment leads to customer loyalty, employee retention, revenue, sales, and profit. Companies like Sprint are a prime example. They embraced the FISH! Philosophy (think throwing salmon at Seattle’s Pike Place Market) and increased productivity and sales by 25 percent.

Another example is Google, where they know hiring and retaining quality employees means, among other things, offering fun-related perks. The employee approval rating is through the roof. In fact, according to Glassdoor, Larry Page, Google’s CEO, has the highest approval rating of any CEO out there — 97percent. 

Adding Some Fun

You may be old school, and believe work isn’t work unless you grind away and toil hard to make your living. But there’s not a lot of room for that philosophy any more.  

Ask yourself, if you had a choice of a job that makes you dream of an early retirement or one that you enjoy everyday, which one would you choose? So would everyone else.

Let’s have some fun folks!

Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor—with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.