5 Ways Having Fun at Work can Help Advance Your Career

Increase productivity and boost learning when your office makes you smile.

Always find yourself counting away the hours until the next weekend comes along? Going to work really doesn’t have to be the doom and gloom so many make it out to be. Yes, the thought of spending most of your week at your desk can seem uninspiring, but if you approach your work with a positive attitude and allow yourself a certain degree of fun along the way, you’ll soon see the advantages it can have for your career. Enjoy yourself and let your hair down. Here’s how to get ahead and have fun at work whilst you do it.

It increases your productivity
When you’re happy and energised at work, this is clearly reflected in your performance, increasing both your drive and your output. It certainly makes sense, and research backs it up: fun workplaces have been shown to enhance staff productivity. For example, a quick game of table tennis or a team building day can be the much-needed break that makes it easier to get back to the tasks at hand and be more effective and efficient as you do it. This is why more and more companies in Singapore are creating fun offices recently.

Also, if you find work enjoyable, you’re more likely to want to be there, which translates to less tardiness, absenteeism, burnout and employee turnover. The biggest benefit, however, is that if you enjoy your work you’re more likely to stay. Now, show me a manager that doesn’t like productive and loyal employees.

It enhances learning
Similar research shows that fun places to work enhance learning, always a plus when climbing the career ladder. For one thing, you’re more likely to learn a new task or process when you’re having a good time and feeling more relaxed. For another, having fun, and feeling 100 per cent comfortable with those you work with, often unlocks creativity, leading to fresh ideas and helping you to solve bigger problems.

A fun workplace may also expose you to other avenues for learning, such as volunteer opportunities or industry meet-up groups. And the more you learn, the more impressive your CV will become, and the more appealing you’ll become to potential employers, if you do ever decide to move on.

It builds your network
According to happiness-at-work expert Alexander Kjerulf, socialising with colleagues is critical to your career. You must be able to relate to them and build positive relationships, or your career will pay the price. And the benefits are many: you’ll improve communication, gain trust in one another and work better as a team. Everybody wins! These relationships are connections you can carry with you throughout your career, as friendships, mentorships or potential referees. Invest some time in cultivating these relationships now, and reap the benefits for many years to come.

Another plus: creating strong, positive working relationships continues the cycle of good times. You’re more likely to have more fun at work if you have people with whom to share the fun.

When you’re happy, it makes for happy customers
Many companies that have encouraged a fun work environment report a boost in both customer-service quality and customer satisfaction. And when customers are happy, they’re more likely to buy from you or come back to you for more. Customer service is very important to most consumers, so investing in employee happiness could help you to improve the bottom line too.

Happy employees and happy customers = happy managers
When you have happy customers, and the company’s bottom line is improving, this will likewise make your management team happy. Also, management will recognise your playful, upbeat attitude at work as a leadership quality – you are leading by a positive example. This can have a knock-on effect: if you’re happy and productive, others will be happy and productive, and if management is paying attention, this can only work to your advantage.

Indeed, it seems management believes this ability to have fun and bring a sense of humour to the workplace is vital to career advancement and is on the lookout for this trait. A survey by Robert Half International indicates that 91 per cent of executives think a sense of humour is important for career advancement, and 84 per cent think that people with a good sense of humour are better at their jobs.

The evidence is clear: adjusting the way you view going to work – not as a chore or necessity but as an opportunity to grow and enjoy yourself. Having fun at work can put you in good stead with other employees and management, and help advance your career.

Make your days count when you love what you do.

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