Don’t be afraid to have fun!

Why are people afraid to have fun at work?  While there are lots of articles on how to retain your employees, I’ve found that the most important factor in people staying with your organization is if they enjoy working there. What better way to help people enjoy something than to have a little fun and make them laugh.  The best part is fun doesn’t require a budget, it only requires the willingness to take a little risk.

For example, my team was kicking off a new project and having a meeting with several key stakeholders.  We decided to have a little fun by picking a theme song for the project. Just as we were starting the kickoff meeting I introduced our theme song and played it over a speaker from my iPod.  Everyone got a good laugh and it set the tone that while we were all about doing important work, we could have a little fun at the same time.

A different project team decided to pick a mascot for their project and opened the meeting explaining why the mascot represented what they hoped to accomplish as a team.  They even brought in a stuffed animal to serve as the mascot and the stuffed animal attended all key meetings of the project team.  It seemed silly at first, but the stuffed animal served as a reminder of serious work the team hoped to accomplish; while at the same time making everyone smile when people started asking “what would the mascot do?” when the team was debating questions and answers.

I get that everyone is a little worried about less than serious behavior being seen as unprofessional.  After all, we are CPAs.  We’re supposed to be serious and boring.  I don’t know about you, but I believe serious and boring has its place; it’s just not the entire day, every day.  My recommendation is to take a chance, especially if you are a leader in the organization.  If people see that you are willing to smile and have a little fun, they will feed on that and come up with fun ideas on their own.

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