By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA
I recently got proposals from a few suppliers for a communications project. In the email the company representative sent me with the proposal was this line: “You will get the best results, the best client service, and have the most fun with us.” Well, I wasn’t looking for fun, but that certainly stopped me in my tracks. I like fun. I like working with suppliers that are fun to work with (and talented and cost-effective, of course). I really appreciated this touch of unexpected humanity. Ultimately, and for many reasons, this is the firm I will choose to work with–now they better deliver on the fun part!
Seriously, it is a reminder of how important it is to be human–and perhaps, not always so serious. What a good reminder to sprinkle some extra fun into our work product, our work relationships, and our work life. Here’s some inspiration on making your workplace fun from the UK-based HR company, CIPHR. There’s a not very fun but fascinating treatise on fun in the workplace in the March 2019 issue of Human Resource Management Review. A key point is this: “A theme that has been echoed through the qualitative investigations is that fun in the workplace may not always be fun and that whether fun in the workplace is ‘fun’ is context dependent. We contend that fun in the workplace is largely in the eye of the beholder.” True, that!
I think the takeaway is that orchestrated fun can be ineffective (possibly torturous for personnel with social phobias or those who prefer quiet) and can reduce work time, which can detract from fun and add to stress. I also think that companies must be careful about scheduling “fun” activities that are conducted outside of regular business hours. That, too, can be a burden to employees.
Okay, stop reading. As Urban Dictionary defines fun: “Clearly something that you aren’t having if you’re searching it on here.” Pretty funny, right?
Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPMI’s communications counsel.