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The Bradenton Herald uses examples from large companies such as Google, LinkedIn, and Zappos to make the argument that fun at work increases employee productivity. One of Zappos' core values is to "create fun and a little weirdness." The fun, silly atmosphere is at the heart of their corporate culture, and they believe this is what has made them so wildly successful.
Google and LinkedIn have gone so far as to make playing games a part of the workday. Google has a rock wall in their California facility, and they encourage employees to use it on company time. Other Google-approved activities include beach volleyball and bowling. LinkedIn has similar policies, with ping-pong and foosball games available during the day.
It is reasonable to think that time spent playing games would decrease time spent working and, therefore, decrease productivity. However, in these companies, just the opposite is true.
One piece of this puzzle is that fun increases creativity and thinking skills. Problem solving often requires looking at things from different angles. Getting out of the same four office or cubicle walls and doing something fun gives your brain a boost.
An environment that encourages play has another cognitive benefit: it makes taking risks safe. When risk feels safe, people are more likely to suggest a variety of creative ideas or solutions to problems.
Stress and Health
Stress can drain creativity, and make coming up with solutions to problems more difficult. Fun decreases stress.
Too much hard work and stress also have ill effects on physical health. Employees who are sick are less energetic and less productive. They may not be able to come in to work, or if they do, get everybody else sick, which further decreases office productivity.
Not every office can afford to put in a rock wall, billiard table, or swimming pool. However, a healthy sense of humor is an inexpensive and healthy way to increase fun and decrease stress in the workplace.
Forbes explains why humor is a key to professional success. Humor is fun, decreases stress, puts others at ease, and is a component of fun workplace culture.
You don't have to be an extrovert to benefit from a corporate culture of fun. Introvert fun may be different from extrovert fun; for example, a strong introvert would likely rather garden than play team sports.
At Introvert Energy, experts claim that 75 percent of the U.S. population is extroverted, and 25 percent introverted. In a company culture that encourages breaks for fun and productivity, introverts should be accommodated. Their fun break may be going for a walk or to the gym.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you have fun at work? Does it increase your productivity? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.