Everyone wants to work in a fun and productive culture but what are the characteristics of such a place? What do the people who work in these places do that’s different?
Here are 8 pointers to what makes for a fun and productive culture
1. They start with enthusiasm
People who work in fun and productive places are excited about the role and the company. According to start-up CEO Jenna Fernandes, leaders have a responsibility to make this attitude a key part of hiring after ensuring new recruits have the technical capability. Having people who are excited at the start makes a whole lot more sense than trying to build it later.
2. They know what they’re working for
Great organisations have really clear visions and shared gaols that make it easy for people to understand and engage in. A great example is Amazon’s:
Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
If people hare confused by a wordy and unclear set of goals then it will act against them taking action. Clear vision and goals direct action and productivity and help create a good work culture.
3. They communicate with their bosses
Fun places are where the bosses are genuinely approachable. Sometimes you need to put fun back into workplaces – which will be harder than building it in from the clean slate of start-up – and a first step is making sure communication is two way.
Communication with leaders needs to be informal. Too often bosses rely on the set piece town hall type meetings. Two way communication works better in smaller informal and fun settings where staff will be less afraid of asking questions or offering an opinion.
4. They get to know their bosses
It’s no fun working for an anonymous person who hides in their office. As well as great communication, leaders need to be open about who they are and what they are doing. They need to be themselves – real, authentic and productive as well.
This is extremely important for leaders, particularly entrepreneurs in the midst of starting up, as they can set a pattern of leading by example and embed it in their work culture.
5. They work flexibly
One of Jayson Demer’s strategies to encourage fun and productivity is not to focus on schedules but to enable staff to work in the way that best suits their productivity whether that’s some days at home, flexitime or just odd shifts. This has to be underpinned by trust between co-workers and managers. Old school managers who don’t understand what they’re staff are doing will manage on people’s presence not their productivity regardless of whether they’ve a team of night owls or larks.
Flexible working helps individuals balance other demands in their lives particularly family responsibilities. It’s more common in European countries like Germany where worker productivity is high where a more rounded view of the worker is taken.
6. They don’t distract themselves with social media
Productive people don’t spend all day distracting themselves with social media updates. Cyber-loafing for is the disengaged and unproductive.
This was well illustrated in a BBC documentary on Germany where the reporter was rebuked for using his smart-phone in the workplace. Interruptions, even those we create ourselves, have been shown to take huge amounts of time as restarting whatever was being done takes time and is therefore a drain productivity as well as showing a lack of engagement.
A fun work culture is a sure way to mitigate against social media distraction.
7. They play together
Great offices are not just well decorated and beautifully design they have spaces where staff can take a break and play together. Here decompressing from the intensity of work can happen by for instance a simple game of table soccer. It’s opportunity to build bonds and well as get a healthy mental break.
Humans aren’t machines and so well organized downtime activities that inject fun into routine breaks is a good way to balance stress and pressure.
Play can extend outside office hours whether that’s forming a sports team with colleagues or holding exciting off-site social events.
8. They do stuff outside work
Whether as a team or as individuals people from fun and productive places get involved in activities outside work. That could be volunteering in a local community project such as decorating an older people’s home or creative personal projects such as photography or writing.
Those with wide interests are likely to be fun and more inspiring to others. If all you ever see are the same walls of the same office you’ll not have a lot of fresh ideas to keep the place exciting.
And that is the key difference – fun and productivity begin and end with excitement and you won’t find it in other work cultures.
Featured photo credit: Highways Agency via imcreator.com