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When a Company’s “Fun” Culture Gets in the Way of Success

A funny thing can happen on the way to building a “fun” company culture.

Employees enjoy the special occasions dreamed up by their employers – raffle drawings, team bowling, margarita Fridays – and sometimes lose sight of what’s really important: helping the business grow. Is there a way to incorporate fun in your company culture and still maintain a high level of productivity? 

Yes, industry experts say, but it’s not easy and demands some special attention.

Is Fun an Employee Benefit?

First and foremost, a business must deliver on its products or services. If fun activities get in the way or distract workers from this priority, all the morale-boosting in the world won’t help the bottom line.

Another unexpected effect of a “fun” culture: Some employees may come to expect such activities as a normal part of the job and start complaining when real work needs to be done.

In the same respect, when a company undergoes cutbacks, layoffs, reduced pay and other familiar challenges in these hard times, it’s difficult to sell “fun” as an employee benefit. Some will question why any expenses are going to weekly employee birthday celebrations or free pizza and soda while watching a baseball playoff game on the company’s wide-screen TV. The logical question is, shouldn’t these funds go toward running the business and keeping people employed?

Enhancing a Spirit of Productivity

To achieve a healthy balance of work and fun, learn from the people who work for you. Do you have a good sense of their expectations of the job they do? Do they understand your expectations as employer? Taking time to answer these questions fosters a sense of collaboration and communication that’s vital to any company success.

This communication will also provide insights into what constitutes “fun” from the employee’s perspective, rather than your own ideas. Then it’s possible to work together to find areas where some flexibility is appropriate, where fun activities can enhance a spirit of productivity, not distract from it.

“Fun” can’t be forced. It will bloom in an environment where employees are proud of what they accomplish, challenged by new and varying projects, and happy to help each other out. Productivity increases, as does revenue, in which case it’s entirely appropriate to set aside funds (and, on special occasions, office time) to celebrate a job well-done. Now’s the time to treat the team to an afternoon at the bowling alley!