Think about this…
Are your employees showing up to work late consistently? Are they more “on edge” or angry all the time? Are they making more mistakes that usual? Are their “attitudes” now affecting how they handle your customers? Are they just getting through the day so they can go home?
These are all RED FLAGS trying to get your attention! Ignoring it won’t make it go away and disciplining your employees won’t correct it. But there is a simple way to reverse the trend = Introduce some play time!
What are the biggest problems companies face concerning employees right now?
- Poor morale
- Poor productivity
- Workplace violence
What is the common cause of each? = Stress!!
When we talk about incorporating “Play Time” into the workplace, it simply means incorporating some fun into the daily work routine to break up the mundane routine of the day. Let’s not forget, most of us will spend more time at work during the week than with family, friends or just outside activities.
What will “play time” do for the employee? It helps alleviate some of the daily stress, especially during high peak seasons, which helps improves employee morale. It can become overwhelming for an employee if he/she doesn’t have an avenue to release the daily stress build-up, especially if they go home to more of it. You invested your time and money into hiring and training these employees, so why not put as much effort into keeping them?
First argument I expect to hear is: “employees need to earn their paychecks by working the full amount of time” or “an employee’s focus should be on how many billable hours they can pump out on a daily basis.” Do NOT think of this as “slack off” time. Am I expecting companies to pay employees for time to just goof off? Okay, in a way, yes! But, think of the long-term payoff regarding employee morale and performance simply because the company set aside a small amount of time each day for stress relief.
What are some examples you can do in the workplace?
- Community Service projects
- Walk/Run Fitness challenges (sponsor a group for a local 5k!)
- Desk Massages / Manicure Mondays
- On-site fitness facilities
- Company sponsored sports such as Softball or Volleyball
- Company-wide learning classes….such as Cooking or Photography classes
Let’s break down a couple of the examples to you can see the benefits:
Community service = An activity either on-site or off can break the tension of the workday and build a sense of teamwork among your employees. For example: Organize a food drive or holiday cards/care packages to send to our troops. Employees like the distraction from their everyday duties plus it makes them feel good knowing they are doing something to help others. And in some cases, companies can also publicize their employees’ efforts – so it becomes free advertising for the company.
Early morning or lunch time workout = Ask one of the employees to lead a brief 20-30min workout session that can be as simple as a 1k walk or a weight loss contest. Remember that line from Legally Blonde about working out – “working out gives you endorphins and endorphins make people happy!” It also helps improve your employees’ health which, in turn, helps decrease costs associated with the company’s health insurance when it comes to renewal time. See…another win-win!
What will adding “fun” to the work day really help do?
- Reduce sick time taken…including those “mental health” days that employees partake in more and more these days.
- Improve employee retention. It shows the employees that the company is truly interested in them and their well-being. When employees feel appreciated – they are happy! And happy employees don’t start looking for other jobs…even if they wish they had more pay.
- Helps to recruit new employees. A happy employee will tell others about how great their job is…and others will want to work for you! Jobseekers today know that most companies aren’t using job boards as much as they used to in the past and rely on networking and referrals. Because employees are more likely to only refer those candidates that they truly feel are a fit for the company, you have cut down on advertising and time-to-fill costs because candidates are being brought to you!
But, for Play Time to “catch on” and be effective, the Employer needs to let their employees that it fully suports this new “way to work”. If employees worry that they will be looked at poorly if they participate, they won’t give it a try. So, it is imperative that you not only promote some “fun” in the workplace, but let them know you WANT them to participate in it. Here’s an idea: Lead by example = YOU get out there and show them how to have fun during the day!
Remember: Happy Employees = Productive Employees