The lab is a serious work environment. It has to be in order to ensure that nobody gets hurt and because results need to be accurate. However, no job can be ALL work and no play because that will lead to burnout and can cause careless mistakes. Today we discuss the importance of infusing a little fun into the workplace and share a few ideas to get you started.
Why focus on fun?
There are many benefits that can come from adding some fun activities into the lab environment. Many of these types of initiatives require communication and teamwork and building these skills when not focused on work will translate into better collaboration when everyone dives back into their projects. Additionally, when employees have fun at work it increases their commitment to the organization, reducing turnover. Fun at work also relieves stress and studies have shown that when employees are less stressed they are more creative and productive.
How can I do it?
Here are a few creative ways to infuse a little fun into the lab environment. While they do take a bit of time and effort, implementing these ideas can make your employees more engaged and effective in the long run.
Choose one day per month where everyone goes out for lunch or drinks after work, catches up on each other's lives, and unwinds without talking about work.
At the beginning of the year distribute different 365-day calendars to each employee, each with a different theme. For example, jokes, word of the day, science facts, etc. Then throughout the year, employees can discuss their calendars.
Once a month play board games together during lunch in a conference room.
Celebrate the holidays with an employee party. You may also consider celebrating employee birthdays with a monthly celebration or by throwing a big, yearly birthday bash for everyone.
Send out a riddle or puzzle of the week and offer a small prize ($5 or less) to whoever solves it first.
Recognize employee work anniversaries with a card or other small token of appreciation.
Host a themed afternoon with snacks. If you know several employees are into basketball, put on March Madness. If they are into the Oscars, hold a debrief meeting the next day where they discuss the previous night’s affair. Tailor your activities to what people in your lab already enjoy.
When in doubt, free food is a great way to get people excited about an activity.
You cannot force fun. Making activities mandatory will make them feel like another work obligation, instead give employees the option and let the great activities speak for themselves.
Ask your employees for feedback, they may have some awesome ideas for your next activity.
We hope these ideas help you foster a fun, productive work environment in your lab. Do you have your own initiatives that you use to infuse a little joy into the workday? Let us know on Twitter, @Conserisapp.
Conseris is a data collection app designed to help researchers collect data more efficiently and securely. Learn more: www.conseris.io.