How a Little Fun at Work Impacts Your Bottom Line

Americans are commonly known for their work ethic, especially when it comes to exceeding the nine-to-five work schedule and having an “always on” mentality. However, too much of something is never a good thing. According to the American Institute of Stress, workload accounts for 46% of stress in US adults and varies greatly based on job title and location. Stressed out workers can have a negative impact on bottom-line results. In fact, a Harvard Business School study estimates that workplace stress costs US businesses up to $190 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and escalating healthcare costs. And as a result, we are reminded of the importance of letting loose in the workplace and reaping the benefits that come with having a little fun.

Improved employee wellness. While employee wellness should be an obvious priority, it often gets overridden by demanding deadlines and business goals. Conditions like type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculatory issues, depression and anxiety are just a few of the side effects of stress. Try switching up everyday tasks by turning traditional meetings into walking meetings or going the extra mile with company-wide outings like group luncheons or intramural competitions. Not only are these activities good for your employees’ physical well-being, but they can build greater relationships and encourage camaraderie between workers.

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Increased productivity. Bite-size breaks are crucial when setting the rhythm of a work environment — and they help enhance employees’ creativity and focus, which means a more valuable workforce. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review and Energy Project, those who took breaks at least every 90 minutes reported a 40% increase in creative thinking and a 28% improvement in concentration. That means employees’ briefly engaging in activities like listening to music, doodling or surfing the web, rather than wasting time, can actually boost your organization’s productivity.

Greater talent attraction and retention. Employees, especially those in the Gen Z and Millennial demographics, care about work/life balance. According to the Gen Z & Millennials Collide @ Work report, 37% of Gen Z and 39% of Millennials cite stress as the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of their work performance. They’ve grown up in a post-digital era in which they are always connected. And while they’re capable of taking on heavy workloads thanks to the efficiency of technology, they also see the merit of stepping away to stay motivated.

That’s why employers need to create an accommodating environment where employees are given the autonomy to balance both work and play. Leaders who bring flexibility to the employee experience can help foster a more favorable employer brand. Potential talent will take notice, and current employees will feel they are part of a positive work climate. Companies that fail to live up to employees’ expectations around work/life balance will struggle to attract and retain talent down the line.

Fun in the workplace is no joke when it comes to decreasing company turnover, strengthening employee engagement and increasing team productivity. The ROI from a little fun could include the lasting success of your organization. And that’s something all parties will want to invest in.

MORE: Keeping employees happy without breaking the bank

Jodi Chavez

Jodi Chavez
Jodi Chavez is president of Randstad Professionals.

Jodi Chavez

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