WORKPLACE FUN AND ITS IMPACTS
HRM (Human-Resource-Management) refers to the strategic processing of hiring and developing workers in a bid to make them more productive and align their work approaches and attitudes with the organisational culture (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). This research focuses on workplace fun. The paper examines how organisations implement office recreation and its impact on customers, employees and organisations.
Armstrong and Taylor (2014) point out that organisations can maximise employee performance in numerous ways including providing better pay packages, job security and worker training and development, among others. The 21st-century workforce is characterised by numerous pressures emanating from social, economic and workplace demands, which, in turn, lead to high dissatisfaction among employees (Dickson-Swift et al. 2014). Consequently, the current workforce is characterised by high absenteeism, low engagement and morale, poor customer service and low productivity. For example, National Statistics UK (2017) points out that in the UK, organisations lose approximately 4.3 days every year per worker because of absenteeism. The organisations also lose around £554 per worker every year mainly because of non-genuine absence from work (National Statistics UK, 2017). Though it is impossible to avoid events that lead to unhappiness, Barry Chignell (2016) points out that surrounding workers with happiness in the workplace enables them to recover faster and cope better in adverse situations. Therefore, to minimise worker dissatisfaction and promote their well-being productivity, and engagement, HR (Human-Resource) managers must prioritise workplace fun.
Duerden, Courtright and Widmer (2017) posit that office clowning is a profitable, often inexpensive HR practice that enables organisations to engage workers, and simultaneously implement business strategies. Belias and Koustelios (2014) note that fun in the workplace can be promoted through the organisational culture, fun activities and coworker socialisation. Office recreation through corporate culture involves formal and informal fun activities that are supported by the management. Fun activities supported by the management include allowing play in the office and encouraging entertaining events (Duerden, Courtright & Widmer, 2017). Fun activities on the other hand include formal events such as team-building activities and competitions (Fincham, 2016), among others. Equally, corporate clowning can include encouraging employees to dress in a particular way on certain days of the week and setting up play equipment including gyms and tennis court in the office (Fincham, 2016). For example, Yugendhar and Ali (2017) state that Zappos, which is a leading online retailer encourages workers to clad like their favourite animals on particular days of the week. Whereas corporate clowning can be effective, particularly at the initial stage, Georganta and Montgomery (2016) state that it is likely to become a routine; hence, it will not be appealing to most workers in the long-term. Moreover, Plester and Hutchison (2016) point out that most organisations are characterised by a multi-generation workforce that includes baby boomers, generation X and the millennials. Accordingly, it is difficult for organisations to tailor workplace fun that suits members of each generation.
Regardless, HR managers must continually endeavor to promote fun in the workplace. Plester and Hutchison (2016) state that rather than rely on corporate clowning to encourage office recreation, organisations need to focus on more casual interventions. For example, firms can promote fun by allowing employees to work from home. Equally, companies must focus on eliminating bureaucratic walls and minimise pointless demands on workers including sending long emails, and thus, enable employees to focus on their work and make meaningful progress (Georganta & Montgomery, 2016). In addition, HR managers must focus on job design to ensure that each employee is assigned their preferred tasks rather than the duties allocated by the firm (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Accordingly, employees are likely to enjoy work and happiness will be spontaneous rather than induced. Coworker socialisation, on the other hand, involves informal activities that are formed by colleagues including social events and sharing humorous messages through social media platforms (Duerden, Courtright & Widmer, 2017), among others. Besides, coworkers can focus on simple fun activities such as making and throwing paper planes, amongst others. However, like corporate culture, fun through coworker socialisation is induced rather than spontaneous.
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Impact of Workplace Fun
Recreation in the office creates a positive environment which has numerous benefits for customers, employees and the organisation. Customers are the most important asset in an organisation (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Therefore, each activity in a firm, including office-based fun must focus on customer prioritisation. For instance, West, Hoff and Carlsson (2016) state that happy workers are more engaged and enjoy their duties: thus, they act as brand advocates and inform customers about their firm and its products. As such, fun in the office increases awareness of products and services offered by an organisation among customers. Beehr (2014) points out that unhappy workers are more stressed, easily irritable and are likely to unleash their anger on clients, thus providing poor services to customers. On the contrary, happy employees are friendlier and more cooperative with customers (Barry Chignell, 2016). Starbucks, for example, promotes office clowning, and thus enables barristers from the firm to be jovial and welcome customers warmly (Garthwaite et al., 2017). Furthermore, West, Hoff and Carlsson (2016) point out that fun in the workplace promotes innovation and creativity. According to West, Hoff and Carlsson (2016), besides promoting relaxation, fun activities stimulate imagination, enabling workers to adapt to situations and solve problems. Moreover, competition, which as identified above is a formal fun activity is an effective method for increasing innovation in an organisation. Resultantly, happy employees offer intelligent solutions, create quality products and provide excellent services that meet and exceed the needs of customers. In addition, Duerden, Courtright and Widmer (2017) point out that happy workers are always satisfied: hence, they are unlikely to leave an organisation. In turn, such workers establish a long-term relationship with customers and, thus ensure that all activities in the firm customers oriented rather than transactions focused.
Besides clients, employees are the second most important assets in an organisation. Therefore, successful fun activities must promote the well-being of workers. Armstrong and Taylor (2014) point out that employees collaborate and interact numerous times with their colleagues. However, most of the interactions and collaborations are often formal and work-based. Nonetheless, Leiter, Peck and Gumuchian (2015) state that promoting fun in the office encourages open discussion and honesty as well as builds trust among workmates. In turn, the cordial relationship created during fun activities such as playing volleyball together is likely to be transferred to the office. Moreover, fun activities create an opportunity for individuals learn the traits of other persons including their likes and dislikes as well as develop tacit rules and habits that facilitate mutual understanding (West, Hoff & Carlsson, 2016). As a result, employees can easily operate as a team because they understand the strengths and weaknesses of their workmates. Recreation in the office also results in the smile a day keeps the doctor away syndrome among workers. As such, instead of spending more time taking bed rest or in hospitals, employees devote more time to hone their skills and progress their carriers (Tews, Michel & Allen, 2014). In turn, the workers are likely to be promoted and receive better remuneration. Equally, happy employees evade the negative effects of stress and instead create better relationships with members of their immediate social circles including marital partners, siblings and friends outside the work environment (Tews, Michel & Allen, 2014).
Office-based fun also creates numerous benefits for organisations. Notably, Georganta and Montgomery (2016) point out that high employee attrition is one of the major challenges facing most firms. While, some employees are likely to live an organisation in search of better remuneration or to work for more established firms, Dickson-Swift et al. (2014) point out that dissatisfaction leads to high worker turnover. Promoting office clowning enhances worker satisfaction which increases employee loyalty and thus minimises employee turnover (Georganta & Montgomery, 2016). As such, workplace fun increases the capability of firms to compete in the labour market when recruiting or seeking to retain employees. Additionally, the approach enables firms to increase profitability by reducing expenses associated with employee recruitment and training (Barry Chignell, 2016). However, fun activities in the office including playing football and flying kites, among others stems employee turnover, thus saving companies such expenditures. Burnout, stress and depression are some of the major causes of absenteeism and low productivity (Dickson-Swift et al., 2014). In fact, Dickson-Swift et al. (2014) point out that stress lowers the morale of workers, and thus leads to less communication, self-alienation of employees and low productivity. However, workplace fun reduces stress and depression, and in turn, lowers the rate of absenteeism and increases the level of productivity (Dickson-Swift et al., 2014). Consequently, worker productivity enables organisations to meet demand in the market, and thus maintain their customer base. Equally, a healthy workforce enables firms to minimise costs associated with medical fees.
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Workplace fun is profitable, and often an affordable HR practice that enables organisations to promote the well-being of workers. Workplace fun can be encouraged through corporate culture, fun activities and coworker socialising. For instance, through the support of the management, organisations can identify formal and informal fun activities including building competitions and constructing indoor sports facilities such as tennis court. However, corporate clowning is induced rather than spontaneous. As a result, it is likely to become a routine in the long-term. Nonetheless, encouraging more casual fun interventions such as working from home enables firms to promote the well-being of workers. Workplace fun has numerous impacts including enhancing customer satisfaction, promoting the employee well-being and increasing the bottom-line of organisations. Therefore, office clowning is an important HR practice that enables organisations to promote the employee well-being and maximise their productivity.
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