“You can observe a lot by watching.” – Yogi Berra
Growing up, I was blessed to have a grandfather with a youthful spirit that incorporated play in everything he did. He had an incredible ability to turn the most mundane jobs into fun and exciting games.
We played. We laughed. We had mini-competitions. We were fully engaged. Work was no longer work. It was just fun. He created lifelong memories while instilling values and new skills in my siblings and me. Many I still use today.
Recently, I found myself at a local coffee shop “people watching” and observed how they interacted. Many groups were there to talk business. Others were just enjoying a good latte. I noticed the seriousness of the interaction. There were very little smiles. There was no laughter. There was limited eye contact and most of the body language was posturing for control. Overall, people looked stressed.
Where did all the fun go? What happened to our youthful spirit? Have we forgotten the importance of play?
Research shows that laughter reduces stress and has both great short and long term effects. It reduces tension, stimulates organs, improves your immune system, and improves your overall emotional health and mental clarity. Sounds like a no brainer, right?
Let’s counter stress, seriousness, and routine by bringing fun and laughter back into our daily lives, and yes, that includes work.
How To Make It Fun:
- Make It A Game: This encourages play, increases creativity, reduces hierarchy, and puts everyone on the same playing field. Keep the games fun and light.
- Change The Environment: A change in scene disrupts traditional social/work dynamics, reduces anxiety, and increases creativity. Take walks while meeting or have a picnic lunch at a local park with your team. Whatever the new environment is, make it safe.
- Add Humor: Laughter and smiles increase endorphins and increase oxygen intake, making your team more alert and happier. Tell jokes, share funny stories, or add funny videos to your next meeting, workshop, or presentation.
- Bring Props: This adds symbolism and meaning to the work you are doing and for people to not take themselves too seriously. Add crazy hats for a brainstorming session, a cape for your team member headed off to big meeting, or a mascot someone keeps at their desk when working on a big project. Adding props to your company culture creates a shared value among your team.