How to keep the balance between fun and work at the workplace

We all need fun at work

"Fun is one of the most important - and underrated - ingredients in any successful venture. If you're not having fun, then it's probably time to call it quits and try something else." - Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group, writes in "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership"

Creating a successful career means putting in lots of grit, hard work and determination to get the job done and going above and beyond your job profile. But, like Branson says, it is important to have fun at your job, where you spent nearly a third of your waking hours. It is necessary to enjoy what you do, otherwise burnout is imminent. Rapper Pitbull says, "You're going to fall, you're going to fail, you're going to lose - and that becomes fun."

If people are having fun at the workplace, they will work harder, stay longer and maintain their composure in case a crisis erupts at work. According to, an increasing body of research shows that when leaders lighten up and create a fun workplace, there is a significant increase in the level of employee trust, creativity and communication -- leading to lower turnover, higher morale and a stronger bottom line. An analysis of employee survey responses at Great Place's 25 World's Best List showcased that employees cherish the way their companies act as "communities".

Here are some ways to instill fun at the workplace to maintain the balance:

Refreshing & Supportive Management: Today's rapid-paced workplace demands more trust and transparency among employees. Employees today seek leaders who are likeable, understand their needs, can motivate people and know how to energize the workplace. Don’t lose sight of the group by focusing too much on one or more individuals. Employees want their managers have a clear vision and strategy and use talent in their teams effectively. Train managers to help listen and use best judgement to design a better work-life integration plan. People are willing to work hard, but they need to be able to take breaks without fearing for their jobs.

Encourage holidays, time off: Ask people to take time off to go for lunches or dinners. During holidays, don't bug them with work. Tony Hsieh believes in having fun and has fostered fun and friendships at his company Zappos, the online shoe retailer with over $1 billion in sales, as part of his corporate culture. Zappos sponsors a couple of family events a year and three big company-wide events, along with having regular cook outs, Easter egg hunts and contents between employees.

Be flexible work-wise, location-wise: A recent study by McKinsey & Company has found that millennials are most likely to accept a job from a company that offers flexible work schedules. Instead of spending money on foosball tables, companies are better off providing flexible work schedules and build a culture of accountability and support that makes it possible for the employees to control their own time. At Asana, deliverables and goals are planned out four months at a time so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Dropbox also offers unlimited paid time off and allows its employees the flexibility to set their own schedules. They also instituted no-meeting Wednesdays to enable employees to have uninterrupted time to work. Dell aims to have 50% of its global workforce on flexible schedules by 2020.

Employee experience matters: Most companies undertake token gestures like setting up gym facilities, gourmet food, beauty and wellness chains etc. in order to showcase the benefits of joining them. At Airbnb, they are building “the workplace as an experience- where all the elements of work such as the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the virtual, and the aspirational are carefully orchestrated to inspire employees". At Facebook, the culture and dialogue is open about everything whether it's with your manager, on your team or concerning a company-wide issue. Along with free food and other perks, there is also a lot of autonomy for employees.

Creating a fun workplace is a win-win for the organisation. Getting employees to have a good time while they work will push the company forward. Don't be a victim of F.O.W.O.T.