A Blog series by Elise Misse

Blog #27

The Importance of Fun in the Workplace

Of all the holidays celebrated across the globe, one of my recently discovered favourites fell on April 22 in the form of National Jelly Bean Day. I’m not a candy eater but I have always considered jelly beans a source of fun and happiness.

That, in turn, got me thinking about the importance of fun in the workplace. As we’re all adjusting to returning to the office, it’s arguably more important than ever that we take the time to enjoy moments of happiness at work. When we switch on the news or check our social media feeds, the world can feel like an uncompromising place. Enjoying the opportunity to laugh with our colleagues is a welcome distraction from this.

Humour has always been a critical component of maintaining health and happiness; even during the pandemic’s peak, the adage that laughter is the best medicine continued to ring true. Taking a moment to enjoy a little fun and frivolity in our working day can bust stress and make even the longest day feel worthwhile.

Further, laughter and fun at work strengthen the bonds between us. It takes a level of trust and comfort to enjoy the company of our colleagues – and to make no secret of the fact that we’re doing so. If a business leader can keep a team entertained while also efficient, they excel in their role. Far from a warning sign of inefficiency, a group that laughs out loud – and doesn’t try to hide it – is likely to keep producing high-quality work, safe in the knowledge that their efforts are appreciated.

Perhaps more importantly, we also learn more while we’re having fun. This means that we can work smart as well as hard – something that continues to grow in importance as we adjust to a new world. Many of us are still adapting to exchanging prolonged time at home for additional hours with our workplace. By maximising the efficiency of our performance in the office, we can strike an appropriate balance in how and where we spend our time.

It can sometimes feel that having fun in the workplace is akin to walking a tightrope. Nobody wants to feel they’re being flippant during a testing time in human history or cause inadvertent offence. Indeed, there can be a fine line between workplace banter among colleagues and teasing that could be dubbed bullying. Stay mindful of the feelings of others, though, and it’s likely that we can all enjoy the benefits of fun at work.

If you’re keen to introduce a little more fun into your working life, there are plenty of ways that you can achieve this without sacrificing performance. Naturally, it’s crucial that we remember why we go to work. That doesn’t mean that we need to sacrifice any opportunity for amusement to pursue perfection, though. To quote Willy Wonka, a fictional character that will surely relish Jelly Bean Day, “a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest people.”

Key Takeaways –

  • Having fun at work, especially laughter, strengthens the bond between colleagues and enhances trust in leaders.
  • Taking a moment to share a laugh with colleagues can diffuse tension and minimise stress.
  • We learn more and absorb information faster while we’re having fun, meaning that we can work smart as well as hard.
  • While it can be a fine line between good-natured interactions and potentially offensive remarks, mindfulness can help you stay on the right side of a call from HR!

About LEAD Network Europe

The LEAD Network Europe is a non-profit and volunteer-led organisation whose mission is to attract, retain, and advance women in the consumer products and retail sector in Europe through education, leadership, and business development. The LEAD Network is run by and for its members, women and men, and we value every individual for their unique perspective. With a primary focus on promoting gender equality the organisation strives for the advancement of women of every race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, educational background, national origin, religion, physical ability and lifestyle. Its vision is of a fair, diverse and vibrant industry where everyone can thrive. A diverse workforce where both men and women are enabled to contribute their full potential and lead their organisations to the next level of value creation. LEAD Network accounts for 18,000+ members – both women and men – from 81 countries.

For more information, please visit www.lead-eu.net