Ask just about anyone what their perception of a “corporate” environment is, and you’ll probably receive the same set of answers: Gray walls, acres of cubicles, droning printers – the whole Office Space stereotype. What they usually don’t say is “fun.”
Fun isn’t a dirty word – it’s a natural human need that’s as important as feeling loved, according to some psychologists. So why is it such a pain to try to inject into a corporate workplace? It seems like office management never loves having to create “fun” activities, and nobody working gets all that excited at the idea of another office birthday sheet cake.
Fortunately, the FISH! Philosophy values fun greatly, and can help us bring a real, genuine sense of fun and a playful spirit into even the most mundane office. Here’s just a few tips on bringing fun into your corporate workplace:
Be There: Build trust and positive relationships with your coworkers
The foundation of fun is in the positive relationships we have with others. After all, we never had quite as much fun as kids when we were playing with someone our parents forced us to hang out with, right?
When it comes to the corporate world, we don’t need to be buddy-buddy with every single person. But the more we can build real relationships with our team, the more we can trust them and earn their trust, the more we’ll all be able to let our guards down, show our true personalities, and really start to have real fun.
And building these relationships means we need to Be There for each other – being there means being present with the person in front of you, listening actively to their words, cheering on their successes, and commiserating when things don’t go their way. The more we can do this, the more that we feel comfortable having fun with each other.
Play: Create space for novelty and freedom to think outside the box
You’d think that this is when we’d finally talk about play like we do in school – tossing the ball around, playing games, and goofing around. And to an extent, you’re right – these can be great activities to help inject some levity into your staid office workplace. A break for an office field day, a nostalgia trip to an old-school arcade, or even just a classic “guess how many Skittles are in this jar” game at the front desk can all bring a sense of traditional play into the workplace.
But this is the FISH! Philosophy, which means we need to stress the importance of Play as we define it – the freedom to engage with new ideas, new activities, and conversations that push the boundaries of our preconceptions. Studies show that as you get higher up the corporate ladder, more and more workers define “fun” as having work duties that engage and challenge them. So rather than assuming that all workers need a break from their duties to have fun, we should work to make sure that everyone has that freedom to think laterally and get their brains working without fear of failure or punishment.
Make Their Day: Surprises still matter – as long as they’re genuine
Sure, we live in a world that is starting to realize that a pizza party doesn’t make up for lousy benefits, or that a goofy poster on the wall won’t stop a crummy manager’s tirades. But there’s still room in the corporate world for small surprises intended to elicit a smile and Make Their Day.
Whether it’s a bowl of candy at the front desk, a special outing for the holiday party, or bagels to kickstart a sleepy Monday, these little gestures still have the capacity to surprise and delight your corporate office, so long as they’re done genuinely and not as a Band-Aid in place of making real changes.
No worker hates the pizza party when they feel listened to, supported, and properly engaged in their job – so as long as your workplace is dedicated to getting the fundamentals right, these surprises can do their real job of putting a bit of fun back into the workplace.
Choose Your Attitude: Enjoy yourself and others will follow
“Fun” corporate activities have gotten a bad rap for ages now, and honestly? It’s led to plenty of cynicism amongst not only management but regular workers as well. We often approach everything from office picnics to motivational speeches with the mindset that it’s performative, cheesy, or pointless – but what would happen if we let go of those preconceived notions and just let ourselves, you know… have fun?
This is easier said than done, of course. Acting aloof or above-it-all has become so rote for so many of us, but if we practice Choose Your Attitude we can start to find the fun in our workplaces. Whether that means practicing gratitude for the change of pace (even if it’s not our jam), acknowledging the positive intentions of your workplace, or even just putting on a smile and losing yourself to the moment – a change in attitude can let us feel true enjoyment rather than keeping any attempt at corporate “fun” at arm’s length.
Ideas to Reflect On:
- What’s the most fun you’ve ever had at work? Was it a work task, or an activity that was a break from your normal duties?
- Have you ever felt yourself not having fun at a work activity when you felt you should? What could’ve been done to further engage you?
- Do you have relationships with your team? Do you think you could have fun with them outside of a corporate setting? If so, how can you bring that feeling into the office as well?
Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?
Are you a leader? Do you train others? Do you want others to be leaders?
Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.
During our time together you’ll learn how to:
- Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
- Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
- Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
- Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
- Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
- Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.
Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.
At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:
- Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
- Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
- Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
- Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
- Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.
Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information
The first step in a successful FISH! journey is a remarkable introduction. A FISH! Philosophy kickoff event:
- Inspires people to find the joy they have been missing at work.
- Teaches four powerful skills you can use immediately for team and personal success.
- Unites team members to accomplish any goal.
- Is incredibly fun . . . and people learn more when they have a good time!
The FISH! Starter Kit provides all the tools you need to plan and lead a great kickoff.
Click Here for More FISH! Starter Kit Information
Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!
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