“Fun Works” (Really!)
If you’re interested in creating and maintaining a positive corporate culture, check out the 2nd edition (updated & expanded) of Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Work by Leslie Yerkes.
Her book lays the foundation for the “fusion” of play and work. She showcases companies that consciously chose to integrate fun into their corporate culture, but it’s not an add-on or forced “let’s-take-a-break-and-play-a-game” type of fun ala The Office. According to Yerkes, “I don’t want to be put in charge of fun. That makes it a job and that would not be fun.”
Yerkes explores how different companies integrate fun into their normal course of business, creating positive experiences for employees and customers, to illustrate “there’s no right or wrong way to engage in serious fun.” She shares what she calls “Principles of Fun/Work Fusion” and the resulting benefits that include:
- reduced employee absenteeism and better retention
- a buffer for stress and potential burnout
- enhanced employee commitment
- stimulation of creativity & innovation
- positive impact on productivity.
From my work in internal marketing, I’m familiar with the power of a corporate culture that encourages a sense of humor and appropriate play in the workplace. I found Fun Works a good reinforcement.
Trying to deal with my own workload pressures, I found this book a great reminder that I need to adjust my own Puritan Work Ethic (i.e., work first, play later) to achieve a better balance. (Maybe I need to take a break and catch up on my favorite cartoons … )
Fun Works by Leslie Yerkes
Like many other bloggers, I get offered a lot of books to review. I’m always excited when the PR firm pitching me has taken time to read my blog. Golly, what a concept! Let me admit here, and now, that MOST of the folks who pitch me DO KNOW who I am an…
Excellent post. I had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand a business culture recently that had completely merged business and fun. Absenteeism wasn’t even a topic of discussion. Everyone was engaged. Productivity was high. Customer satisfaction was through the roof. (As a matter of fact, most employees had been customers first, and left their jobs to come to work there.)
Interestingly enough, the benefits weren’t all that great and the pay was not particularly competitive (most employees took a pay cut when they signed on), but the business had no trouble attracting and retaining supremely competent individuals. (HR managers should camp out in the parking lot and do some guerrilla recruiting, IMHO.)
They all called themselves “corporate refugees.” That should tell you something. 😉