Category Archives: Nat Measley

The 3Cs: Your Key Essentials for Healthy, Productive Workplace Fun

By Nat Measley

Nat MeasleyAny business leader will agree that a successful program for their operation is one that makes their organization more efficient or effective. Enlightened business leaders constantly take the opportunity to enhance their existing programs for workplace fun. How can a program for workplace fun become more effective and efficient? Further, what would the benefits of a more effective program for fun within your culture be?

Imagine a program for workplace fun in which employees actually attended and engaged. People would be more apt to connecting, communication and bonding as a team over longer term, more sustainable time period. Sounds amazing, right?

A healthy program for fun at work has essentials, foundations that ensure you’ll get the culture, leadership and investment to perform optimally. They are called the 3 Cs and they are as follows: Consistency, on Company Time and Culture Compliant.

Let us take a closer look at why consistent fun that occurs on company time and is compliant to your culture and your people will maximize the impact of your fun programs.

Consistency: The traditional model for workplace fun generally involves two specific high-profile events. They give employees a chance to connect and share, celebrate and bond. They’re typically pure fun and have been around since the dawn of business. You probably already plan these events.
They are … the Company Picnic and the Holiday Party.

You might spend months preparing for these celebrations. And they can be valuable for your team, no doubt. But any morale boost they produce is fleeting – maybe just a few days, or a week, tops. Before you know it, your employees may fall into a rut of apathy about the workplace; at least until the next special event many months later. Consider that this apathy, lack of motivation and connection costs you money, productivity and loyalty.

As opposed to planning two large events each year, you should focus on consistent delivery of engagement. When it comes to fun in the workplace, consistency is key and should help to make fun feel as natural and typical to the staff as the rush hour commute or weekly meetings.

Fun is like exercise. Stick to a consistent regimen, and you’ll enjoy long-lasting results. So get out your calendar and a red pen, and select the dates for consistent fun. Monthly fun programs are an easy starting point and offer six-times the amount of fun than only the holiday party and company picnic.

On Company Time: Studies conducted on employees and work-family balance show that employees value their time with family and friends much more today than ever before. Time is among the most highly valued “commodities.” Yet, company leaders hesitate to schedule fun events on company time. Doing so, they believe, impacts productivity and is merely a distraction. And, yes, it can! Thus, often, plans are made to usurp valuable down-time for employee engagement with events scheduled during evening hours or weekends.

Work is stressful enough and the gift of engagement in fun activities helps employees blow off some steam and stress, and re-set their perspective of their colleagues and daily tasks. That’s why fun should happen on company time; and fun should take less than 15-minutes.

Many companies – and those poor administrators stuck to planning their events and off-site meetings – follow the same agenda: meetings from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and team building from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. And what happens after 6:00 p.m.? That’s the time reserved for the mandatory happy hour and team dinner, of course. That doesn’t sound like fun for anyone. The “fun” is too long and disrupts family time.

Consider instead a 15-minute ice-breaker at 8:30 a.m. to set the tone for a productive day, followed by a brief team activity after lunch to re-energize the group for the rest of the day. And then, at 4:00 p.m., send people home for some downtime. Be a super-hero, and save the company some serious money on the booze and food for the evening!

It’s also easier to attract talent and start adopting a culture of fun and the positive results that follow when fun is delivered in short stints. This is not to say that there is no place for moderate to lengthy fun events. But, strive for consistent fun on company time as desired functions – in lieu of a fewer events with longer duration.

Culture Compliance: The last of the 3 Cs – Culture Compliance – may not seem difficult. After all, who doesn’t want to have fun? Compliance speaks to more than just the typical view of the concept of legalities. Compliant fun will; Integrate with your company’s culture and by-laws; and encourage everyone to participate in their own way.

First, make sure you have a good sense of the likes, dislikes, tolerances, and intolerances of the folks who make up your organization. Too many “fun” programs are really aimed at one or two people – often times those few who planned the event. Is that really fun, effective—or fair?

Second, fun needs to appeal to extroverts and introverts alike. Some employees will gladly do the limbo; others will prefer watching (and the sadists will volunteer to lower the pole). Everyone should feel comfortable enough to play along in the way that suits their tastes. Let the fun be customized to each person.

The key to success? Allow team members to define their own fun. Listen. And plan events that allow for a variety of different kinds of participation.

So let’s bring this all together. Next time your leadership is reconsidering your fun programming – and you should because it will change – make the fun consistent, on company time and compliant to culture. Then watch your culture change and your workplace fun programs become more efficient and effective.

Nat Measley, MPA, is the CEO and Managing Partner at The Fun Dept, and co-author of the recently released book Playing it Forward: The Definitive ‘How To’ Model for Creating a Winning Workplace Culture. Nat earned his MPA with a focus on Organizational Leadership from the University of Delaware. He is an experienced public speaker, facilitator and trainer who works directly with CEOs, leaders, HR professionals, and administrators to develop fun programming that supports their organizational goals. Save

Playing it Forward: The Benefits of Fun in the Workplace

Nat MeasleyBy Nat Measley

To have fun or not to have fun? That is the question.

Are you curious how companies like Google, Zappos, Southwest and others develop those winning workplace cultures, with such high productivity and profitability? Regardless of the industry, there is a common thread running through the highest performing companies: the inherent or stated culture of fun. Among companies denoted as “great” in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” a whopping 81% of employees say they work in a “fun” environment.

If you look closely at the highly successful companies mentioned above, they incorporate fun into the fabric of their culture. Fun at work may not be the “silver bullet” that produces superior results on its own, but a workplace environment that prioritizes fun will rise above the competition. With stout leadership, dedicated management and strong company values, companywide fun can take you over the top.

Prioritizing fun in the workplace will have a direct impact throughout your company in a myriad of ways, but there are a few specific areas that can be highlighted.

Organizational Health: Everyone would agree that a healthy and happy employee is a more productive employee, right? Fun can be an important component of emotional wellness. Often, fun is used to encourage participation or bolster existing wellness programs. The attention on emotional intelligence in the workplace and its impact on the bottom line is rapidly gaining momentum. For most organizations human capital is the largest asset and the single largest expense. It seems like a natural place to focus considering it will have the largest impact on the bottom line. We have already seen the biggest advances in technology and those investments today are producing marginal returns and impact on productivity. The next revolution in the workplace is culture.

Productivity: Secondly, let’s explore productivity. Do you ever get a break? Are you expected to work 8-hours per day, straight with no breaks? Fun can offer great breaks and distractions (not wasting time), but true valuable break time. As an example, there is a national call and customer service center that offers its employees a unique schedule. They have broken up their average daily time commitment into on-phone time and quick breaks (dubbed “shorts”). These “shorts” are sprinkled throughout any of the call center employees’ days. They last 15-minutes or less, during which time, employees can play ping pong, take a walk outside, or do anything they please during that time.

Look at Google. They give their employees 20% of any given work day to simply take to do “what they want to do”. And no, that time does not have to be work related. Why? One reason is for the sake of productivity of their work force. They realize that their people are working hard. The breaks are meant to enhance productivity of employee on-time.

Relationships & Loyalty: Relationships and loyalty (sometimes retention) go hand in hand. A staggering 79% of companies believe they have a significant retention and engagement problem. The average cost of losing an employee ranges from 1 1/2 times salary to 4-times their salary, depending on the position. What about attracting the next generation of great talent? The tides are shifting and given the choice most people – especially millennials – will choose culture over pay. Culture and fun is a differentiator that will give you the competitive advantage.

Engagement: How can engagement be affected and in turn, affect the bottom line? In human resources, one very popular metric is employee engagement – an employees’ emotional and active commitment to the success of the company. Engaged workers are enthusiastic about their jobs. And disengaged workers are not. According to a Gallup survey a company loses $2,246 per disengaged employee per year. Why? Disengaged employees take more sick days. They arrive late, miss deadlines, and are more likely to instigate customer complaints. In all, they drag people and business down.

Fun can help. Fun has a 68% correlation to employee engagement scores. In other words, if someone perceives their work environment is “fun” on a survey, their individual engagement score will be affected positively by 68%. In other studies, 75% of companies observed who incorporate fun into their culture and operation who also currently measure engagement report increased or maintained scores over time.

Yes, it’s true. Fun at work is building solidarity, connection, and an outlet for workplace stress. When designed and delivered at regular intervals with forethought and understanding about what your staff needs.

Ok, you get it. So, how do you get started? Remember this is a cultural change not a single event or two so it takes time. Start by assessing your culture. Ask yourself if you see value in fun fitting in and then explore how the fun can become a part of your operation. The next big revolution in the working world is focusing in on culture. Enlightened leaders recognize that the old hierarchal ways of doing business and treating employees like numbers, not people, are no longer effective. You will be glad you considered fun: so will your employees and your business!

Nat Measley, MPA, is the CEO and Managing Partner at The Fun Dept. Nat earned his MPA with a focus on Organizational Leadership from the University of Delaware. He is an experienced public speaker, facilitator and trainer who works directly with CEOs, leaders, HR professionals, and administrators to develop fun programming that supports their organizational goals.