Tackling the "F" Word in the Workplace
That’s right, I said the “F” word. During years of software training for CIM-Tech.com, I have noticed more and more employees not having FUN in the workplace. You guessed it, the “F” word I am talking about is FUN.
From my experience, having fun while doing your job not only motivates but inspires.
To relate this to my world, when employees hear that they are going to be having software training, a groan can be heard throughout the halls of the building. ‘Software training is boring and we are so busy. We don’t have time to do this training,’ they will say. After I introduce myself and get to know who I’ll be working with, the first thing I do is crack a joke. No, they are not good jokes but what it shows them is I am not your typical software trainer.
I have learned that if the people I am training are smiling and laughing, they are also learning. That is the whole point of my job - to get people to learn and understand. If I look out and see boredom and eyes wandering, I can guarantee that they are not engaged with what I am trying to show them. This not only leads to poor results on my part, but a failed understanding of what I am teaching. Having fun does not mean goofing around, it means interacting and engaging with each other. Fun is not a bad thing.
But this idea of fun carries on beyond training and should be instilled into the daily workplace culture. Having fun makes employees happy. Happy employees are more productive and tend to stay longer with a company. No, I do not have any scientific evidence of this, but I am sure it is out there. When I get frustrated or over-taxed, I slow down. I have a hard time focusing on one thing because I am thinking of everything else that I need to do. By taking a step back, cracking a smile or two just helps me reset and move forward.
So how do you instill fun? Well, that will be the challenge. It seems to me the current workplace culture for manufacturing is a stressful environment driven by short lead times and high productivity demands. You can add a bit of fun to help ease stress without sacrificing productivity.
To sum it all up - FUN is a good thing. I know if I did not enjoy what I was doing and did not have fun doing it, I wouldn’t be doing it. Simple as that.