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Fun at Work

Having fun at work has the ability to increase skill levels, improve employee resiliency, and encourage optimism, which in turn leads to better attention on tasks according to a study of 206 managers published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. The surveys had managers rate fun activities, their own bosses’ support for fun, their attitude, and informal learning at their restaurants.

Michael Tews, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at Penn State University, noted that employees in fun work environments are more willing to try new things and not stress about mistakes they may make. “It’s easier to make the connection between fun and retention, or fun and performance to the extent that it leads to creativity, but fun and learning doesn’t seem connected at the face of it,” Tews said. “The gist of this argument, though, is that when you have a workplace that is more fun, it creates a safe environment for learning to occur.”

“[Fun at work] creates this group cohesion,” Tews said. “So, when there’s fun, then the co-workers may be able to get to know each other, have better connections, and be more apt to help each other.”

As with any management tactics, there are pros and cons. While fun has many benefits, the authors caution that when taken too far it may affect productivity and it certainly isn’t a cure all for workplace performance.

Think of your own work history. What experiences do you remember most? Which former coworkers are still in your life? Given the sheer amount of time spent working wouldn’t you rather be in this type of environment?

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from "Our Corporate Life®," a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. © MMXVII Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

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We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

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