Companies are discovering the vital benefits to letting employees blow off steam in the workplace. Whether this is a basket ball hoop in the parking lot, a ping pong table in the break room or even a more simple gesture as offering outdoor time to take a walk and get some fresh air, the decision to allow employees to have fun activities away from the desk can show real benefits to the workplace. Regardless of the activity, employers are noticing the benefits to the company as well as the employee. Win-win!
Below are 10 reasons you may want to consider these type of activities in your own workplace.
10. BALANCE – In life, and really in everything we do, we need balance. This also applies to work in the forms of stress and relief. At times, it seems that work is everything and deadlines are coming faster than we can handle. As employers, we can sometimes push employees to the point that they begin thinking more about the end of the day, rather than the day at hand. In some cases, it can help employee’s over all job satisfaction to have relief come more frequently in small doses in the form of a quick and fun activity, rather than simply concentrating on the clock and going home when stress becomes too much.
9. PRODUCTIVITY – Thinking back to your school days, in which classes did you participate and learn the most? Was it the class with the lengthy lecture and the monotone teacher? Bueller…. Bueller… Or was it in the classes where the teacher added a little fun to each day and you actually looked forward to going? Chances are it was the latter. This principle also applies to the workplace. When employees look forward to their work day they are more productive. Whether it is a student taking a break from reading a book or an employee taking a break from staring at a computer screen, we are beginning to learn that productivity doesn’t always stem from staying 100% focused for eight hours. Recent studies show that adding in small, frequent breaks to a task filled day leads to highly increased productivity.
8. ENGAGEMENT – Employee engagement is quite the buzz word in today’s workplace and rightly so. When you realize that employee engagement is a mindset, you will find opportunities for greater employee commitment, including greater effort from the team, higher sales, fewer mistakes… I am sure there are many more. Author, Kevin Kruse, in his book Employee Engagement 2.0 states, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort.”
7. RETENTION – Looking above at reasons 10, 9 & 8, you can see that this is a place you may enjoy working. And if so, other employers are going to have to work a little harder to convince this employee to leave and come work for them. Turn over is a very real cost for employers and it is very important to retain good employees rather than worry about recruiting and training costs.
6. MORALE – People who enjoy coming to work are more prone to stay at work and have a positive attitude throughout the day. This is better for relationships with co-workers as well as customers. Positive attitudes are also infectious and can spread throughout the organization, making life easier on everyone.
5. COLLABORATION – Most business leaders see the benefit of conversing on the golf course in a more relaxed and less business like environment rather than in a corporate conference room. (Given the time some spend on the course this must be of real benefit to the company, right?) The same benefits may be found when employees engage in fun activities at the office. Just because fun time may be spent away from the desk, it doesn’t have to exclude work related conversations. I can say, that even with myself, I have found time spent with co-workers in a more relaxed environment, such as shooting darts or playing pool, has produced some very good work-related conversations. Work is the one thing employees definitely have in common, so it will be a natural topic when two or more coworkers get together regardless of the activity. Talking through problems and work related issues in a creative manner will help in finding new solutions to existing problems.
4. HEALTH – People are more healthy when they are happy. Stress is a leading contributor to many health issues, so reducing stress can have a positive effect on ones overall health. Harvard’s School of Public Health agrees and specifically lists heart disease as having a causal relationship with stress. Healthy employees have better general attendance at work and experience less chronic issues requiring leave from work.
3. CREATIVITY – Whether your shop employs software developers, maintenance mechanics or blog editors, play improves the imagination which in turn leads to improved creativity. Creativity helps every process and leads to innovation and problem solving. These are all benefits that will give your company an edge over the competition.
2. CULTURE– When customers, competitors, other business owners or city leaders visit your facility and see the investment you have made in your employees’ well being, it makes an impression. They can see that you value people and that your company genuinely cares about people. This helps in establishing trust and will inspire other companies to do business with you and refer new business. Employees will tell people they know that they enjoy their work. Visitors will share what they have seen. This leads to recommendations and will generate business opportunities down the road.
1. PEOPLE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING – Doing the right thing in every aspect of business leads to success. In any industry, leaders who have the philosophy of doing the right thing are more successful than those who do not. Authors Rajendra Sisodia, Jagdish Sheth and David Wolf have completed research and have published a book, ” Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose.”Coining the term Firms of Endearment or FoE, they promote the corporate culture where creativity, empathy and responsibility to all stake holders is core to the corporate philosophy. For FoE companies, this includes making their employees jobs more more fun and creative as one of the primary strategies. First and foremost making long term investments in their employees as one of the best investments they can make.