For those of us in the Midwest, the beginning of the year hit us hard with mounds of snow, in some places over two feet, and freezing conditions. With a little warming, we are now in a constant state of fog and gray.
It is amazing how much the sun, or lack thereof, can impact one’s mood. Employees can go to extremes. Heavy eyelids and snarls in response to “good morning” indicate grouchy moods; restlessness in the afternoon is sign that the passage of time is slow when the color of gray is all we see when we look out the window.
So what can employers do to get employees motivated, excited, and focused? Get creative! Sometimes a little fun in the workplace is all your staff needs to lift their sprits and get them back on track. According to a 2007 Business Week article by Karen E. Klein, Chris Robert, an assistant professor of management at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is quoted saying, “joking around on the job can actually have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention.”
But, humor affects much more than productivity. Research shows that creativity, communication, and overall performance are all positively affected by a touch of humor. “[Humor] has a meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and to make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded,” Robert said, in a 2007 Science Daily article.
Authors Scott Christopher and Adrian Gostick’s latest book The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up, puts this idea to work providing a plethora of case studies and research from companies that have seen the positive effects of having a little fun at work.
So, what about hosting a potluck lunch with a “fiesta” theme? Little umbrellas in cups and some fun decorations can certainly inspire! What about silly hat day, or ugly sweater day? Or, maybe a contest to earn a day off early, a car wash, or a coveted parking spot? Contests can be tied to knowledge of company history, procedures, or production requirements that offer a little “boost” to increase activities. And that’s just the tip of the ice burg!
Although we can’t create sun, as managers we have the power to mimic the effects of the sun through some fun activities that will not only boost employee morale during these dreary winter days, but boost the bottom line.
About Patty North
As the regional manager of Celebrity Staff, a leading staffing and recruitment firm, Patty North has assisted organizations across a four-state region with the development and implementation of best practice strategies in the areas of talent acquisition and talent management. Her collective insight and expertise on workforce planning, garnered from her 15 years in the staffing industry, has enabled clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations to improve performance and gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Celebrity Staff is based in Omaha, Nebraska with offices located in Lincoln, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri.