Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the April
24, 2002 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Making a Workplace a Fun Place
Leslie Yerkes, author and founder of Catalyst Consulting
Group of Cleveland, says smart employers encourage their workers to
bring their whole selves to work — antics and other fun-loving
behavior included. She wrote 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, and has
just followed it up with her new book, Fun Works: Creating Places
Where People Love to Work.
Enjoying work has never been as important as it is now, says Yerkes.
"In the aftermath of 9-11, Americans have become more insistent
that what they do be meaningful in the here and now," she says.
"Since we spend more of our lives at work than at any other single
activity, we want our work to be satisfying, joyous, and fulfilling.
We want to bring our whole selves to work and not leave the
friendly, energetic person we really are at home. For years Americans
have felt that fun could only exist after work — that we had to
work hard to earn our fun. People are no longer willing to live like
this. It is time for all of us to challenge those taboos."
A fun-filled office is a productive, creative office,
Yerkes found as she interviewed CEOs around the country. But letting
fun out of the box seems risky to many in corporate America. In this
excerpt from her book, Yerkes talks about how to remove the roadblocks
We live with biases imbedded into our work ethic, biases that prevent
us from integrating our whole selves into our work life. Do you carry
any of these biases?
and living a successful life.
with Type A; we glorify it and honor it. We don’t seem to value
and planning with anywhere near the amount of reverence we hold for
"rolling up our sleeves and getting right to work." We value
the result more than the method; we measure how much gets done instead
of how much fun it was to do it. We often meet our deadlines but don’t
grow and improve in the process.
When I give my speeches, I always ask the audience what are the
of incorporating fun with work. The answers are always the same: a
positive impact on morale and productivity; reduction in stress,
and attrition; and the ability to attract and retain key employees.
Then I ask "If we understand that by incorporating fun into work
we can achieve these results, what prevents us from doing that?"
The answer is always our biases. And chief among these is our bias
that Type A Behavior is the desired norm.
We choose our biases; they are ours to keep or to let go. Why do we
choose to keep the biases we have? For example, if we spend more time
at work than at any other single activity, then why do we choose work
that is sterile and bleak over work that is fun and enriching? The
answer is fear.
We are afraid that if there is fun, there cannot be work. That if
we are having fun, the outside world will think less of us. The
in Fun Works have faced this fear and conquered it. They have
the principle of challenging their biases and they have prospered.
And in the process they have created a work environment that attracts
and retains the kind of people who will further enrich these companies
and increase their value.
The benefits of creating a work culture that places value on fun and
productivity can be quantified. They can be measured in terms of
satisfaction, retention, work quality, and customer loyalty. If your
organization has strategic initiatives sucas as Finding and Keeping
Peak Performers, Innovation in Products and Services, Quality and
Service as a Competitive Advantage, Managing the Risks of Stress and
Change, Increased Productivity, and Employee Satisfaction, then the
principles of Challenge Your Bias will help you achieve these
When we challenge our bias of "when the work is done then we’ll
have fun" and incorporate fun into work, then our self-imposed
obstacles to success will be removed.
Take down those roadblocks that prevent the full release of your
Change the way you think about integrating fun and work. Challenge
the status quo and take control of your attitudes toward work.
Change your bias.
Corrections or additions?
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