KCT

Knowledge Capture & Transfer

Intro. to Create Fun @ Work

Written By: berge

Are you enjoying your work?  Do you get up every morning looking forward to go to work?  Do you come home from work  content?  At the end of the day, do you feel satisfied that you accomplished some good deeds?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider yourself extremely lucky.  If you answered no, please  continue to read and apply some of the ideas discussed in this book.

Creating a fun atmosphere in the workplace increases productivity, morale, and makes the company more profitable and competitive.  Fun is contagious.  Everybody wants to have fun and be part of fun activities.  Any one can create and have fun @ work no matter where they work, or what position they are in.

More than half of  the world’s population does not enjoy their work.  They work because they have to.  They work to survive.  Work is one of those things that most of us have to do.  Sometimes we feel that we do not  have any choice.  So, we continue working at the same place for many years.  We end up forcing ourselves to go to work day in and day out.  We need to accept those things that we can not change, and do our best to make it more fun so we can bear it more easily.  In addition, we should pray the following: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change, courage to change the things we can and  wisdom to know the difference.”

We must work, but we do not have to suffer through it.  There are more than enough stress causing events and circumstances in our lives.  Some of them we cannot  avoid.  So, we accept the situation and live with them.  As we live with these circumstances, the additional stresses build up and continuously hurt our lives, our health, and our relationships.

Since most of us must work and do not enjoy at least some of the aspects of it, we need to make work more fun and stress free.  We need to  make it more fun because work related activities consume most of our waking hours.  We spend most of our waking hours either at work, or getting ready for work, or going to or coming from work.  If we just decrease the stresses from our work-related circumstances we will decrease majority of our stresses.  This in turn will have positive effect on the rest of our lives.

We can make work more fun, if we just decide to be bold, flexible, improve our attitudes,  and apply some of the ideas listed in this book.

Objectives of the Book

The main objective of this book is to add fun and excitement in your work life.  It could be at your regular daily activities, at your place of work, at home or any place where you spend majority of your time.  As you have more fun at work, you will also reap many other benefits.  You will be less stressed, more  relaxed, more fun to be with, more cooperative, more communicative.  As you decrease your stress level and get more relaxed, your mind will work better and you will solve many of your daily challenges in much more creative and innovative ways.  Your immune system will work better and keep you away from common sicknesses.  Additionally, you will spend more time at work willingly and you will become more productive.

When you apply some of the suggestions included in this book, you will see a big difference in your life.  You will enjoy life more and you will be a positive influence to those around you.  You  will help individuals at your home, work, and community.  You will become a catalyst for fun.  You will have more friends and individuals  that will want to spend more time with you, because they will enjoy  being near you.

Organization

This book is organized in a way to make it easy for you to apply some of these ideas and make work more fun.  Besides the introduction, it has five sections, cartoons, fun ideas, ideas generation, implementation, and references.

In the Introduction section, we discuss why we need to have more fun at work, myths, research results, benefits, and on how the book  could be used.

The cartoons section include special work related cartoons.  Ron Paul is the creative illustrator of the cartoons.  They are randomly placed to make them more enjoyable to you as  you flip through pages.  We also include a cartoon key word index to help you find a particular cartoon for your special use.  In this section, we also discuss and give ideas on how you may use these   cartoons.

In the fun ideas section we included fifty different fun ideas that could be implemented at work easily.

The Fun Ideas Generation section provides seven creativity tools to help you develop some of your own ideas on having more fun at work.  These tools could be used by one person or a group of people to develop innovative fun ideas to make work more pleasurable.  They may  also be used in many other areas to generate innovative and creative ideas.

The Implementation section includes special tools and  processes to help you implement a strategic approach to have more fun at work.  In this section, we cover destiny roadmap and vital success elements.  Destiny roadmap is a seven-step process we can take to reach our destiny.  We will consider our destiny to be having more fun  at work.  Vital success elements are some simple key steps we need to take to assure that we reach our predetermined destiny.  Just like the creativity tools discussed in the Ideas Generation section, these  tools may also be used to implement any other item for you or your group.

The end of the book includes many references to help you find other documents and tools related to having more fun at work.  The  references include books, articles, seminars, and internet web sites URLs.

Definition of Fun

Before we go further let us define fun at work.  First let us look at how Merriam-Webster  defines fun in their dictionary web site, at http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary:

  1. what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically : playful often boisterous action or speech <full of fun>
    a : AMUSEMENT, ENJOYMENT <sickness takes all the fun out of  life>
    b : derisive jest : SPORT, RIDICULE <a figure of fun>
  2. a mood for finding or making amusement <all in fun>
  3. violent or excited activity or argument <let a snake loose in the classroom; then the fun began>

Synonyms: FUN, JEST, SPORT, GAME, PLAY – mean action or speech that provides amusement or arouses laughter.

  • FUN usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose <played cards just for fun>.
  • JEST implies lack of earnestness in what is said or done and may suggest a hoaxing or teasing <hurt by remarks said only in jest>.
  • SPORT applies especially to the arousing of laughter against someone <teasing begun in sport led to anger>.
  • GAME is close to SPORT, and often stresses mischievous or malicious fun <made game of their poor relations>.
  • PLAY stresses the opposition to earnest without implying malice or mischief <pretended to strangle his brother in play>.

As you can see fun has many meanings.  Most of the time it is considered to have lack of serious or ulterior purpose.  Contrary to those beliefs, fun as described and  applied as this book suggests is a very serious business.  It has a specific profound purpose.  The main purpose of fun at work is to improve the lives for those that apply the concepts and for those around them.  As discussed in the research summary section, when you have more fun at work you will be more productive and healthy.

The definition of fun for this book differs from that in Webster’s and is the following:

Harmless activities in conjunction with work that produce pleasure to all involved.

Harmless – no one gets hurt, physically or emotionally.  We need to make sure that all we do in the name of fun is positive, good, clean, lovely, and right.

In conjunction with work – without degrading work quality or quantity.

Produce pleasure – produce some good feeling.  It does not have to be laughter all the time.  It may just be friendly remarks, clean jokes, caring gestures, celebrations of small successes or events such as TGIF, etc.

To all involved – all involved may be just you, or two of you, or the entire corporation.

Before we can apply any of these ideas, we need to evaluate our general attitude about our work and coworkers.  Our attitude is the key to our success in life.  We choose to have positive or negative attitude towards anything.  Since we choose our attitude, we need to be aware of them and see how we can make sure that we have and are choosing to have positive attitudes always.

Stress Can Lead to a Poor Attitude

When we get in a rut and start having negative attitude, we need to study the situation.  Consider the negative outcomes that we are creating by our negative attitudes  and then make the appropriate changes to have a positive attitude.  Some of these changes might be as simply as focus.  We may be focusing on the negative elements.  We need to change our focus to the positive aspects of the situation.

We always go towards our focus in life.  For example, when we first started riding a bicycle, we were nervous and fell a few times.  This was because  we were looking at the problem (the object we might hit or fall into).  We need to recognize the problem and focus on the solution, not the problem.  We need to see the solution beyond the problem, similar to  the  character in the movie Patch Adams.  He was showing four fingers to everyone and asking them what they saw.  When they said four fingers he got mad and left them.  Finally he told Patch Adams (played  by Robin Williams), “look beyond the problem and see the solution, beyond the problem.”  When Patch did this, he saw eight fingers.

Try this, stretch your hand forward, and hold your hand in front of you with your four fingers separated.  Look at your fingers, then focus on something beyond your fingers, then you will notice eight fingers.  You will see eight only when you focus beyond your fingers.  As soon as you look directly at your fingers, you will see only four.  We need to always recognize our problems and focus on the solutions or we will keep falling in the trap. Like the new bicycle  rider, if he focuses on the hole he will fall in it.  If the rider sees the hole and focuses on going around it, he will be safe.

There are many cases where we can not change our focus, or the situation.  If this is the case, we need to either get out of the situation totally or accept them as they are and force ourselves to have positive attitude.  We will not have the positive emotion right away.  We need to start to take positive steps first.  Like the pastor of my church, Mick Ukleja, says, “motion before emotion.” This simply means that feelings follow action.  Emotion of positive attitude will come after we start thinking and acting in a positive way.

Myths about fun @ work

There are so many myths about having fun at work.  Like other myths they are not true.

  • We can not have fun @ work and be productive
    The first myth is that we can not have fun @ work and be productive.  This is only true when the workers are just having fun and are not working when they should be working.  You can have fun at work if you have fun as defined earlier as follows:

Harmless activities in conjunction with work that produce pleasure to all involved.

Harmless

    – no one gets hurt, physically or emotionally.  We need to make sure that all we do in the name of fun is positive, good, clean, lovely, and right.

In conjunction with work – without degrading work quality or quantity

Produce pleasure – produce some good feeling.  It does not have to be laughter all the time.  It may just be friendly remarks, clean jokes, caring gestures, celebrations of small successes or events such as TGIF, etc.

To all involved – all involved may be just you, or two of you, or the entire corporation.
We have to make sure that we implement this in conjunction with work, without degrading work quality or quantity.

  • The boss does not want us to have fun
    Bosses are people like you and I.  They also want to have fun at work if they can.  If the guidelines described in this book are adhered to , the bosses will also participate in the fun activities you organize.
  • It is difficult to have fun @ work
    It is difficult to have fun at work in the ordinary definition of fun.  If fun is controlled and applied as described in this book, it will be tolerated and the benefits will be noticed in short time.  After a while more of the staff will participate in the fun activities and make it even more enjoyable to work at your site.
  • We will look silly
    At the beginning it will definitely feel awkward.  It will take only one or two trials and you will be well on your way to have more  fun at work and get many others to join you.  One of the suggestions covered in the ideas section, is to take a few of your favorite toys to work.  Every so often, just for a second or two you use it to change  the negative attitude or the negative atmosphere.  Ask others to do the same.When I first did this at one of the largest aerospace companies in the US, it felt very weird.  I took a foam ball to my office, and once in while I threw it at someone just for the fun of it.  I’ll found other excuses to throw the ball to people, such as interruptions, or when one person came late to my meetings, or changed the subjects or talked too much, or used some negative words or killer phrases.  All of them took it in a positive and fun way, and within a few weeks others brought other toys.  Whenever one got bored  or frustrated, either he or someone else used their toys to change the mood.  Having toys at your desk also stimulate your mind to produce more creative solutions, like most of us did when we were kids.
  • I can not have fun @ work without the approval of my boss
    The boss does not have to know everything that you do 100% of the time at work.  If your work quality and  quantity is good and with  additional fun, as described in this book, improves it, the boss will be happy with the work improvements.  And when he finds out about the fun activities that contributed to it, he will encourage that type of activities in the future for you and others in your group and corporation.

Attitude is key to success and it is a choice.  We need to have complete control on our attitudes and choose to have and display positive attitudes always.  Charles Swindoll best describes the importance of attitude as follows:

“The longer I  live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than  money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, or say, or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company.… a  church…. a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past…. we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I  react to It.  And so it is with you….  we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

How is your attitude towards your work?  Please take a few moments and think about the answer and write them down in the space provided for you.
_______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

How would you rate your attitude, between 1 and 10?  10 being the best positive attitude you can have.
_______________________________________________________________

What would it take, what would you do to increase your rating by one point?
_______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

What would it take, what would you do to make it 10, the best attitude you can have?
_______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

Once you complete your answers to the above questions, review them.  Start applying some of the ideas that you  generated.  If you have problems applying them, refer to the implementation section of this book.  There you will find some innovative tools to help you apply them and change your character to have positive attitude all the time.  As you improve your attitude, it will in turn improve the quality of your life and those around you.

Research Summary

Researchers are finding that fun and playfulness at work can help people take better, more creative approach to the  way they work. Fun and laughter boost the body’s production of endorphins, natural chemicals that combat fatigue and promote health and creativity.  The serious benefits of fun have been well established.

  • David J. Abramis, Ph.D., is one of the leading psychologists who led research projects in the area of fun and humor in work environment.  He is an organizational consultant and associate professor of management and human resource management in the School of Business Administration at California State University, Long Beach, California.  Dr. Abramis concluded that when compared to people who do not find fun in their work, employees who do find fun or create fun at work report they are:
    1. Less anxious, less depressed, more satisfied with their jobs and with their lives in general, more convinced that other people have fun at work,
    2. More motivated by their work,
    3. More creative at work,
    4. Better able to meet job demands and less likely to be absent or late to work.
  • Robert Levering, Milton Moscowitz and Michael Katz give many examples of playfulness and fun in “The Hundred Best Companies to Work for in  America”.
  • Other experts have also recommended laughter, jokes and joy in general as essential tools of management for defusing tension, making meetings more productive and improving creativity.
  • Research supports the idea that fun at work can be especially beneficial to creativity.  Psychologist Alice Isen and her colleagues at the University of Maryland, found that people who “felt good” after  seeing a humorous film solved problems more creatively.  Similarly, Mary Ann Glyn, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale University, discovered that people who see problems as games come up  with more creative solutions than those who consider the same problems as work.
  • A survey by Hodge-Cronin & Associates found that 98% of 737 CEOs preferred job candidates with a sense of humor over those without.

Learning some of these study results, I developed a workshop.  In the workshop, I use many techniques to create fun and generate technical and cost reduction solutions.  It is called Focused Innovation  Workshop.  With the use of humor and fun elements I get the participants to become more relaxed, stress free, communicative, cooperative, and creative.  This approach, in addition with other techniques, is working very well and we are producing impressive results:

  • The first innovation workshop was focused on rocket propellant densification, real “rocket science”.  This company had only one patent in this technology and wanted to generate new ideas and protect their patent with a few other patents.  At the end of two six-hour sessions with eight participants, we generated 12 invention disclosures that are about to become four new patents in the same technology.
  • Another workshop was focused on space shuttle database cost reduction.  There we generated 130 good ideas.  This workshop consisted of two four-hour sessions and eight participants.  The team reviewed the 130 ideas and selected 13 of them to work on.  They sent each idea to an expert in the field.  Each was asked to estimate implementation cost and expected savings.  The total  estimated implementation cost for those 13 ideas summed up to be $750,000, with potential savings of $4,900,000 per year for five years.  As of this writing, six of the 13 ideas are implemented with actual  savings of $440,000.

Application of fun at work especially to improve quality and quantity of work really works as we have seen in the Focused Innovation Workshops.

At this point I must also share with you about Solomon and his conclusion.  He was the wisest and the richest king of his time, about 3000 years ago.  He tried everything he could think of to get fulfillment and satisfaction.  As he was trying all these  things, he states:

“So I became greater than any of the Kings in Jerusalem before me, and with it I remained clear-eyed, so that I could evaluate all things.  Anything I wanted, I took, and did not restrain myself from any joy.  I even found great pleasure in hard work.” Ref. Ecclesiastes 3:9-10.

He concluded his evaluation by the following statement:

“So I saw that there is nothing better for men than that they should be happy in their work, for that is what they are here for, and no one can bring them back to life to enjoy what  will be in the future, so let them enjoy it now.”  Ref. Ecclesiastes 3:22.

Two chapters later he states the following:

“Well, one thing, at least, is good: it is for a man to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, accept his position in life, and enjoy his work whatever his job may be, for however long the Lord may have him live.”  Ref. Ecclesiastes 5:18

Three  thousand years ago it was concluded that we need to enjoy our work.  Current research, others’ experiences, and the results of my workshops also prove that as people enjoy their work they are more creative and productive.  Being more productive improves the bottom line for the company.  Therefore, companies do not have any valid reason to forbid or hinder application of fun at work as described in this book.

How to use this book

This book is not designed to be read cover to cover at one sitting.  It is designed to be a workbook.  It is not written to just entertain you.   It is written to  encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try some of these ideas to improve the quality of your work-life and those around you.  To get the most benefit from the content, you need to take one step at a time and apply as many of the suggestions as soon as possible.

By the way, did you answer the questions on  attitude included earlier in this chapter?  If you did, you are on the right track.  If not, please do yourself a favor, go back, answer them, and apply some of the suggestions you derive from your answers.

The only way to benefit from what we learn is to apply them.  If we do not apply, it will be like the person who goes to piano concerts and hopes to learn to play piano.  That person could go to a concert every day for many years, and he will never learn to play  piano.  He will learn when he applies, and practices the techniques of playing the piano.  Only the knowledge of the musical sounds and notes do not make a pianist.  Similarly, just knowing about the  benefits and the many ideas of fun at work will not create the benefits of actually having fun at work.  We need to apply and practice what we learn in order to make it real in our lives.  So, please apply as  many ideas you can that you feel comfortable with.  If you do not feel comfortable with any of them, please use the creativity tools, covered in the ideas generation section, to generate some ideas to create more  fun in your work-life.

If you need more details, please contact Berge at 562-477-9785 or email Berge at berge@bergeb.com