Workplace fun is not the same as fun work

Google slideWith different companies like Google, Facebook, and Box famous for putting slides, scooters, and playgrounds in their offices, I could not help but question if I should be having more fun at work, separate from getting enjoyment out of the work I am doing. But before my mind could wander too far, I realized something very important.

If the work itself is not satisfying enough that you have to have a roller coaster going through the office, then do you really have the right job?

Pictures are worth 1,000 words

Working on a project for a blog on Harlem Shake, I typed in “fun at work” in the <search> on a popular stock photo site. Surprisingly, nothing good came up. It’s not that I was being overly picky; it was that there was not a single image that represented the whole phrase. There were pictures of people having fun, and there were pictures of people at work, but not a single photo of people doing both at the same time. Now it could be that these stock photo sites are not modern enough to capture the Disneyland model of the work environment that has taken over many corporations, but I am not entirely sure it matters.

Find a job that you love, and it will never feel like work. I enjoy what I do and find it rewarding in and of itself.

There is an argument that creativity is inspired when surrounded by ‘fun things,’ and that some activities and situations incentivize employees to stay at work longer. Any idea can work for some, but each person is inspired differently. My best ideas are born when I pop headphones in my ears and just listen to music in an empty room. Other distractions are merely that: distractions.

Novelties are not always novel ideas

Google officeSo what kind of fun should an employee be having? The fun needs to have a purpose. If a scooter in the office is what it takes for someone to get things done on time, then by all means buy one. Get two! Everyone still walks into the office to get a job done no matter where they work.

Creativity and fun are subjective ideas. What is fun for me is not fun for everyone else. We should all find work that we enjoy. If our main reason for waking up in the morning is to jump in bouncy house on lunch break, we will have a significant challenge when the novelty wears off.

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Categories: Workplace Reality

Author:Kevin Jordan

Kevin graduated from Stanford in three years and is a contributing writer for The TIBCO Blog. Graduating from a engineering-focused university, Kevin quickly developed a passion for technology and its role in business. Still continuing some of his other creative ventures as well, he enjoys doing stand-up comedy and professional acting. Appearing on the Disney Channel and performing on stages from Las Vegas to the Bahamas inspires him to continue entertaining through written word, on comedy club stages, and on television screens. Bridging his creative ambitions and technical curiosity creates the balance he strives for.

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7 Comments on “Workplace fun is not the same as fun work”

  1. February 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Fun work is not measured volume or some quantitative achievement. It is something that you build and see grow. Imagination and inventiveness are the energy forces that sustain fun work throughout the journey. One must see the work develop and see where they fit into the creation and transformation of their work or project at-hand. A fun workplace is nice to have, but if you cannot end your day with a sense of meaningful accomplishments, your energy and enthusiasm will wane over the course of your work, and it will not set the stage for your next contribution to the business’ success. Don’t get me wrong; a fun workplace can have its ‘recess period’ to break the monotony, but everyone should have fun work to return to in their day’s journey!

  2. February 20, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    You cannot have a fun workplace without fun work getting done. Fun work makes for a fun workplace, not the other way around.

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