Fun at work? You’ve got to be kidding! bathrooms, 4-leaf clovers, a typewriter
Posted on September 09, 2011 by Teri-E Belf, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
Enhance your workplace ambiance by plurking (play while working). 3 True anecdotes that positively transformed the workplace.
When hearts are high the time will fly, so whistle when you work. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
I challenge people to have more fun in the workplace. Fun brings perspective, energy, creativity, connection, and work satisfaction. Are we too sleepy, dopey, grumpy, or just plain bashful to see it as a leadership responsibility? Serious people walk around with blinders. With your nose to the grindstone, you close yourself to outside stimuli.
Something had to change. So I made up a word to integrate the two seemingly foreign ideas, play and work—plurk, (verb), and I defined it as “play while you work.”
People with a plurkful attitude behave flexibly, expecting newness and creativity to spark at any moment. Imagination sparks problem solving. Plurkers delight to romp in possibilities and ideas. Read about some actual examples to help you get started.As a neophyte in healthcare training management, I observed that everybody took work so seriously. Most people did not have fun at work, even on a good day with minimal stress. “Healthcare is serious business,” they warned me, “not a place to play.” I certainly did not expect Psychiatrists and Social Workers to play ‘leapfrog’ and ‘tag’ down the pale green corridors. I just wanted people to relate to each other with more light-heartedness. I wanted people to laugh at themselves, experience communication flow.
Some people talk about play as if it were a relief from serious business, for children, play is serious business….
Fred Rogers, from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood
When I managed the training department in a prestigious healthcare organization, I designed plurk buttons and passed them out. During one of our Management Development seminars, a surgeon confronted me about my Plurk button. With critical seriousness his words cut into me, “_Maybe you can frolic in the Training Department; in Surgery we deal with life and death_.” My words ricocheted, “_I thought healthcare is a matter of life_!” He understood and lightened up considerably.
After the stresses of relocating staff and 157 cartons to a temporary location, we returned to our permanent headquarters to discover that the entire floor lacked a bathroom—a mere oversight! Memos, protests, pleas, and down-to-earth begging produced an architect’s plan to convert storage space into a badly needed toilet. We invited PR to record our next plurk in the employee newsletter. Can you picture photos of a toilet christening, complete with gold ribbon, champagne, and 12 happy faces squeezed in one bathroom?
At the beginning of a staff meeting during a time of high stress, I gave each member of my HR department a four-leaf clover and a humorous poem I wrote tailored to the individual’s current challenges. Amazing how something so simple cut through the tensions that had been building. Appropriate playful creativity introduces perspective that lurks in the shadows, waiting to be unleashed. Brainstorm how you can plurk at your next staff meeting.
When the time came to replace typewriters with computers, we created a funeral procession and all wore black to honor the transition of the passing of an era. Bringing playfulness into organizational life enables all to pave the way for a more integrated work life.
How to begin:
1. Identify qualities that describe you when you have fun?
2. Ask yourself: When was the last time I had fun at work?
3. How might I create fun in my work environment?
4. Do I allow myself to have fun at work?
How can you plurk today?