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Is your organization a fun place to work? Should it be?

National Fun at Work Day is the perfect time to look at whether your company is a fun one.

Is your organization a fun place to work? Should it be?

Is your workplace fun? Jan. 28 is National Fun at Work Day. It’s a good time to look at whether your employees are having fun at work and consider what fun can do for your team.

Some employers make a strong effort to ensure their employees have fun at work. “Our office in San Diego is the definition of fun,” says Shannon Valdes, PR specialist for Cali Bamboo. The company has a ping pong table (and holds regular tournaments), an indoor basketball court, a community kitchen and a backyard with a grill. The office is dog-friendly and there are often dogs running around and playing fetch.

“We have found that providing a fun, engaging workplace makes employees more motivated, productive and happy,” Valdes says. “We were recently named one of the Top 40 Workplaces in San Diego. Personally, I cannot imagine working anywhere else and love that I am excited to go to work every morning.”

Fun can boost engagement

Many employers see fun as a motivator. “If people are having fun, they're going to work harder, stay motivated and maintain overall happiness which creates positive energy,” says Abby Frizzell, talent retention specialist at TopSpot Internet Marketing. “It isn't odd for us to have a TopSpotter teaching us Irish dance moves after work — he's a world champion Irish dancer,” she says. The company holds weekly drawings to win tickets to sporting events, concerts or to attend the Houston Rodeo. It also offers monthly catered lunches and socials outside of work.

“A work/life balance is important to us here at TopSpot, and we're dedicated to the livelihood of our team,” Frizzell says.

Not all employers set up rec rooms; instead, they try to promote an environment where employees feel welcome to build their own connections and have their own fun. “Fun, or the ability to take a step back and release work stress, is important to individual, team and organizational productivity,” says Lydia Henry, vice president of human resources and strategy at ATOMIC Design Inc. “ATOMIC works hard to create an environment where fun can occur in a variety of organic ways, instigated by the team, not mandated by the company.”

These events include informal gatherings, impromptu games or competitions, after-work bike rides and softball games, Henry says.

“We find that developing and deepening a company culture that facilitates versus forcing these types of activities is more effective in creating an authentically fun place to work.” The benefits include greater creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking, she says.

Building a culture of fun doesn’t necessarily mean silliness, says Mary Alice Bowers, vice president of HR for T&S Brass. Instead, she says it’s more about encouraging a culture where people can laugh and enjoy relationships with each other. “We treat each other like family here, so we laugh and cry together. When associates enjoy their workplace and are responsible toward each other, costly turnover is reduced and genuine engagement occurs.”

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