ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

Should Work be Fun?

Updated on April 12, 2010
theCHIVE.com
theCHIVE.com

As a brick mason helper during a high school summer, one of my duties was erecting and disassembling scaffolding. One particularly hot July day, we were tearing down “triple bucks”. From 24 feet up, the plywood and planking, heavy with excess mortar and brick chips, impacted the ground below with a resounding crash. A co-worker, A.J., thought it would be funny to let out a blood-curdling scream with every impact. This continued for several minutes, until finally our foreman, Jim had had enough and called A.J. out. “Ah Jim, you’re no fun”, A.J. pouted. “You’re not here to have fun”, Jim retorted gruffly, “you’re here to work”.

And, Jim was right. We were there to work. But, in a sense A.J. was also right. He wasn’t hurting anyone, his antics didn’t slow our efforts, and the few passers-by in the area got a chuckle out of his shenanigans. It then occurred to me: Isn’t it okay to have fun at work?

Some years later, I hesitantly accepted a job in retail sales. There would typically be four or five of us on the floor at any given time, and during slow periods, we did a lot of “goofing off”. I would later remark that I had never had so much fun and made so little money as I did at this job. At some point, news that we were having “too much fun” migrated up the management chain, and we were all admonished to stop cutting up and “look busy” even if there were no customers, and no stocking or tidying up to do. Overnight, morale began to plummet and the revolving door began to spin. Within a few weeks, over half the sales force quit. They weren’t making much money, and they were no longer having fun.

Some businesses will make a genuine effort to make their workplace fun. They’ll have friendly competitions between teams, or host company picnics or other group outings. And while their intentions are typically good, these activities only go so far.

Management is often hesitant to allow any levity in the workplace for fear that productivity will suffer. And, left unchecked, it probably would. I’m not suggesting the company bring in a three-ring circus for the employee‘s amusement, but there is ample middle ground to consider. The workday shouldn’t have to be absolute drudgery.

Ask the employees what they consider fun

Instead of assuming everyone is up for yet another company picnic or “Family Fun Day”, ask your employees what they’d like to do to. If they feel you’re sincere in your request, they won’t be shy about letting you know.

Re-evaluate your policies

Are people being disciplined for innocuous deeds, such as chatting a little too much, or occasionally pulling up a web page that isn‘t work related? Does sharing a (politically correct and non-offensive) joke automatically bar someone from advancement?

Bend the rules from time to time

It goes without saying that injecting a little jocularity into an otherwise mundane workday can alleviate stress and make the employees feel less like little cogs in the big machine. As long as productivity isn’t taking a hit, feel free to look the other way on occasion.

In today’s economy, many workers are painfully aware that their job could disappear overnight. And most are reacting by working harder, and longer hours to increase their perceived odds of being retained in the event of a workforce reduction. But the downside is that many are burning out or bottoming out prematurely. They’re not robots; they’re flesh-and-blood human beings and they can only tolerate so much before they begin to crack.

Finally, did you hear the one about the mule and the near-sighted bumblebee?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)