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Don’t be afraid to have fun!

by in Staff, Stress

Don’t be afraid to have fun!Fun. Do we have enough at work? For most practices, the answer is probably no. Whilst there will always be a need to be serious, focused and professional – it’s the nature of what we do and the sector we work in – time must simply be found to have some fun.

After all, there are generally only three ways to motivate people to work harder. Number one is to threaten them and number two is to pay them lots of money. Neither of those are proven to work in the long-term, and neither are really possible in today’s world, which leaves us with motivating staff by making work more fun.

Fun equals productivity

The good news is that a good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

With that in mind, how can you create a fun workplace? Here are some pointers:

Allow fun and games

Having fun is as much about culture as it is anything else. Allow staff to share a joke or chat about the latest TV show – it’ll boost morale and therefore productivity. Respond positively to fun – don’t try and stop it – so join in!

Be creative

Fun doesn’t usually happen by itself – it needs to be generated. So why not appoint a ‘social secretary’ or a ‘fun committee’ to ensure fun events happen during or after work.

Jokes, quotes and quizzes

Sharing jokes, funny quotes or organising quizzes work wonders in providing short distractions from work and releasing tension. Write down jokes you see on telly – or simply head online.

Games rooms

Do you have space for something fun? Table tennis seems to be popular in many offices, but are there games your staff would like to play to take their mind off work? A dartboard might be useful – and for some reason Jeremy Hunt’s name springs to mind!

Share the fun

Do something just for fun with your patients. How about handing out sweets (be careful with certain patients!), wearing fancy dress for charity… you get the idea. Staff profiles on websites can also be a good place to have some fun – how about placing pictures of people as babies or asking them to answer random questions on their profiles?

Put fun things and activities in the staff room – and have prizes

This allows people to take their mind off of the seriousness of work for a short period, so they come back to work with a more positive and balanced perspective.

Go out together 

As GP practices need to have a sense of professionalism, you might prefer to focus on fun outside of working hours (don’t neglect the working day fully though). Going out together as a team is a great way to get everyone having fun and forming relationships outside of work that could inspire collaboration back in the office.

Try to vary what you do and include experiences. As well as being loads of fun they can make great team-building exercises – we’re not talking about traditional ‘build a raft from drinking straws’ style team building days – think chocolate making experiences, a day at the races etc.

Decorate

You spend a huge proportion of your time at work so its important not to hate your office. If you want your team to enjoy being at work, make sure you provide a workspace that’s attractive and interesting but also conducive to productivity. Don’t be bland and vanilla!

Share feedback

Had something positive said about the practice? Passed an inspection with flying colours? Then share it!

Remember the big occasions

Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and milestones with cake, wine, chocolates or all of the above.

And finally, in the spirit of the article, here’s a little quiz that we spied online:

Are your staff suffering from seriousness?

Scan your workplace and take note:

Do you regularly catch people laughing or smiling at work?
YES    NO

When something funny happens do people stop and appreciate it?
YES     NO

Does your organisation have fun activities at least monthly?
YES    NO

Do you have tools (fun giveaways, draws) to invite employees to participate in having fun in your environment?
YES    NO

Are managers usually optimistic and smiling at work?
YES    NO

If you answer no to two or more of these questions, your staff are more than likely suffering from ‘terminal seriousness’, which needs you need to put some fun back into your practice!

How have you brought fun into your practice? We would love to hear your personal thoughts! Comment below or why not take it to the Practice Index forum here?

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