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Making Work Fun!
By Edward Leigh, M.A.
Laughter on the job increases job performance! It's true! Dr. David
Abramis, at California State Long Beach, has studied fun at work for
years. He's discovered that people who have fun on the job are more
creative, more productive, better decision-makers and get along
better with co-workers. They also have fewer absentee, late and sick
days than people who aren't having fun.
I travel a great deal and in many hotels, they ask guests to fill
out a comment card. On the card, they usually ask, "What is the
purpose of your trip?" The two choices are "business" or "pleasure."
Why can't business be a pleasurable experience? Why does it have to
be business OR pleasure? Business should be fun!
One misconception that we must rid from our minds is the notion that
seriousness is the same as professionalism. That is a false
statement. We could still be professionals and enjoy our work.
Professionalism means doing our job well and treating others with
respect. We need to take our jobs seriously, but ourselves lightly.
If we start to take ourselves too seriously that can lead to
People often tell me, "This humor at work idea does not work for me;
I am not a funny person." You don't need to "be funny" to benefit
from workplace humor. Stand-up comedy has to with "being" funny.
Workplace humor has to with "seeing" funny ... seeing humor all
around us to cope with workplace stress.
Here are some top tips to make work fun:
Put together a Humor First Aid Kit, filled with fun toys
to relieve stress. Here are some things to get you started:
stress balls, noisemakers, bubbles, fun hats, silly glasses and
buttons. My favorite prop is a Smile on a Stick. If I don't feel
like smiling, I put the Smile on a Stick in front of my mouth
and I have a great big smile on my face!
Start a Humor File, which could be physical file folders or
electronic files. Look for the humor that is all around us,
including bumper stickers, funny signs, newspaper articles,
cartoons, etc. I am always clipping things out and filing them
-- I have different files for different subjects, such as
:Church Humor" or "School Humor." This is one of my favorite
bumper stickers: "Money talks. Mine says goodbye!" My favorite
newspaper headline: "Thieves Steal Toilet Seats from Local
Police Station. Police have Nothing to go on."
Make meeting enjoyable! Turn those dull meetings around --
try adding a theme, such a food, holiday or movie theme! Have a
chocolate theme or even an Elvis theme! Use them to emphasize
meeting concepts; if you are talking about teamwork, add a
sports theme. Add humorous items to each meeting agenda, such
as, "Why do they call it minutes when the meeting goes on for
hours?" Often times, the focus of a meeting is directed toward
what's not working instead what is working. Reenergize your
meeting by acknowledging positive elements of the workplace.
Schedule Joy Breaks.
If are feeling overwhelmed, have a plan to deal with those
feelings. When I am overwhelmed, my Joy Breaks include, a brief
walk (physical exercise helps relieve tension), meditation,
reading cartoons, listening to music or playing with my "Let Me
Out of Here" box. I have this little box on my desk that starts
shaking and then you hear a voice saying, "Let me out of here."
The box comes in handy when I feel I have to "Get out of here!"
Begin a Laughter Log, filled with fun experiences, both at
work and home. You will be surprised at all the fun things that
happen to you. Humor is all around us, we have to be on the
lookout for it. Jokes are wonderful of course, but what really
connects us to other people is not jokes, rather it is stories
from our lives. Stories have the human connection. After I share
a story from my life in a speech, people often come up to me
afterward and tell me, "When you told that story about your dog,
that reminded of the fun I have with my dogs." We connected
Place a Humor Bulletin Board in a high traffic area.
Post funny articles, cartoons, pictures, quotes, etc. Encourage
people to post their favorite funny things on the bulletin
board. Here is a fun idea: have everyone bring in baby or high
school graduation pictures. Post them on the bulletin board and
give a prize to the one who makes the most matches. Try using
pet pictures too!
Establish a Joy Gang
whose purpose is to plan and implement a variety of different
activities and events throughout the year. Humor is infectious.
Have as many people as possible infect your organization with
mirth! The people at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream began this fun
Use humor to make a point.
If you're working to deadline and need "quiet alone time" get
some of the special yellow caution tape and put it on your
doorway or cubicle entrance. Draw a chalk body outline on the
floor. If anyone interrupts your flow remind them politely of
what happened to the last person who bothered you!
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Copyright 2001 Edward Leigh, M.A. All articles belong to Edward
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