How to Have Fun at Work While Staying Productive

ProjectManager.com

Work can be fun, though often it isn’t, and that goes for both team members and their managers. How can you have fun at work and be productive? Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you and gives practical examples.

Here’s a screenshot of the whiteboard for your reference.

work can be fun and productive

In Review – How to Have Fun at Work While Staying Productive

It might be expected to hear team members complain that work is no longer fun, but Jennifer said that she’s heard the same complaint from managers.

Before she discussed how to keep work fun, Jennifer explored what we mean when we say fun. Usually, that’s an activity that brings pleasure, amusement and enjoyment. People tend to like music, food and activities, so these are some of the avenues that lead to fun.

When it comes to productivity, what we mean is achieving or producing a significant amount of work. People tend to love tips, tools, techniques, motivations and inspiration to help them do this.

Jennifer used these definitions and the ways people usually achieve them to come up with 10 examples of how to have fun at work.

Related: 10 Super Fun Team Bonding Games

Ways to Have Fun at Work

  1. You can have a pizza party or some kind of social gathering around food. It’s a great way to break down barriers and change the atmosphere on the job, while noshing on something everyone likes. You can include different groups from work, who don’t usually congregate, so they can get to know one another.
  2. Have a three-minute dance-off, like Dancing with the Stars, only the celebrities are team members and managers. They can pick their favorite songs, which will make them happy, and cut a rug. It’s a fine method to break up the tedium of the day in a way that’s sure to put smiles on people’s faces.
  3. Progressive lunch is when people share culinary tastes of their culture. It not only offers a peek into the person behind the worker, but exposes the whole office to a wide array of new dishes. From the exotic to the mundane, everyone loves to eat.
  4. Exchanging meeting gifts is a fun way to add a little levity to the work environment. Have people bring personalized gifts for one another, nothing expensive, with an emphasis on silly. People get to know one another, show appreciation and have a sense of play about it.
  5. Lunch outings are a nice way to change the atmosphere, especially if it’s getting stressful. Find neighborhood restaurants that are more than a place to get a quick bite and have personality. Maybe they have live music or fun activities. Break bread and the tension, so you can return to the office refreshed and ready to work.
  6. Fun contests will shake off the cobwebs of a dull day. You’re always in some sort of competition at work, so find a type of contest that is in good fun and healthy. Maybe a sports rivalry or fantasy football competition. Team building activities are great examples of being fun and productive.
  7. Dressing up is a fun way to add a little silliness to the office. Halloween is an obvious time to get creative with costumes, but you can also pick Fridays or certain holidays to get people playing around with their wardrobe.
  8. Listening to a podcast can offer insight, motivate and add a dose of humor to the office. It’s also a collective activity as opposed to everyone bent over their desks with earbuds listening to their own tunes.
  9. Jennifer wrote a book about archetypes called Optimizing Your Thinking, in which she describes eight types of people. There are those who are always happy and smiling, others who are seeing disaster around each corner. Figure out what type you are and who other team members and managers are like, then you can have fun with it. Wear name tags or something to make light of the personality quirks.
  10. Having a guest speaker is like a podcast in real-time. Like the podcast, you can find people who can add humor to your day or maybe inspire and motivate you on the job. Everyone can pool their ideas and work together to figure out who to invite.

Pro-Tip: More systemically, the way to be happy at work is to find meaning in what you do. It helps to build community at work, which the above suggestions will do, but also take responsibility for what you do. These all add up to a happier work environment for everyone.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Today, we’re talking about how to have fun at work while staying productive. And believe it or not, I get this question from not only team members, but managers.

So let’s talk about fun. So fun is something or someone that brings pleasure, amusement, enjoyment, and people enjoy music, food, and activities.

When we talk about being productive, we’re looking at achieving and producing a significant amount of work, and people love tips, techniques, motivations, and inspirations to help get this done.

So I’m gonna provide just a few examples of things that I’ve personally used for myself and my teams to have fun and actually be productive too.

So first of all, a pizza party. Does it have to be a pizza party? No, it doesn’t have to be a pizza party. But we used pizza, and we included different groups and different stakeholders so that they could take time while eating to talk more and get to know one another. And through that, people found commonalities among each other, and through that just began to talk and have fun.

Number two, three minute dance-offs. I love this one. This is one of my favorite ones. So within a group or a team that we’re working with, when your favorite song comes on, you just crank it up. You declare it a dance-off, and everybody gets to listen to that tune.

It reminds me, just a few years ago, when the song “Happy” came out. We loved that. That song just went off all the time. But it was fun. It gave us just like one song to listen to, just to get up out of our chairs and move around, and to have fun and to be happy.

So number three, progressive lunches. We did this quite a bit, because we had people from different cultures, from different countries, and we were able to bring a dish to represent the culture.

Meeting gifts. Well, what does that mean? Meeting gifts – well, bringing a fun gift personalized for each person on the team.

One time I went to the Dollar Store and just got gifts that were representative of the personalities on my team. For instance, there was a software developer on my team, Wayne, and when he got stressed, he loved to play golf. So I got him a little golfing set at the Dollar Store. It was just, literally, $1.

Also, Katherine on our team, she was always late. So I found a big foam clock that was really big that we could put on her desk as a reminder.

And then, there was also one of my stakeholders, Bill, who no matter what was going on, he just always wanted to stand up and say something in the meeting, so I got him a little, cute microphone that he could use during the meetings.

So that just makes it fun. Again, it’s representative to people’s personalities just to recognize them and have fun.

Number five, lunch outings. You can go to a place with good music or fun activities.

Also, fun contests. Instigate some kinda healthy competition. Here in the States, we have different sports teams. So sometimes we have little sports rivalries between…There are different points of the year where different teams are, like, highly competitive, and we’d make fun with that.

Number seven, dress up. Plan times during the year to dress up. Here, sometimes, again in the States, we have Halloween. We also dress up for the holidays, and that’s fun for people to do. Sometimes people have this infamous, the ugly holiday sweater that people have fun with.

Any kind of video and audio podcast. Again, people love motivations and inspirations. So you can listen to those that either humor, maybe inspire, or motivate.

And then also, there were arch types. I personally wrote this book called “Optimize Your Thinking.” It was on eight arch types. So just two of them as an example was Dr. Disaster and Susie Sunshine.

So we took time to learn about these arch types, which ones reflected us and which one reflected the other team members. And we just really had fun with those because we had little magnets we could put on our computers in our office, and we would make reference to that and have fun with it.

And then also, you can invite in guest speakers, someone who can, again, humor, inspire, or motivate the team.

So these are some of the things that I’ve personally used with my teams. And if you need additional resources or ideas on how to have fun at work and still remain productive, then visit our website at ProjectManager.com.

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