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Boosting Productivity by Adding FUN

by Guest Writter
Dave Crenshaw, Author, The Power of Having Fun

How would you describe your company culture? It’s such a hard question to answer for many executives because it may not be clearly defined—or worse—it’s the typical corporate office “blah” feeling. The feeling that causes employees to put their heads down and count down each second before they finally get to leave.

A recent Gallup survey found that only about one-third of US employees consider themselves engaged at work. The other two-thirds? Well, they’re passive, or may even be hostile about their work and the company they work for.

How can leaders effect change? If you’re ready to cultivate a culture of energized and enthused employees, look for ways to infuse moments of fun into your day.

The Importance of Taking Breaks  

Encouraging your employees to take routine, fun breaks can pay serious dividends. According to one study by Harvard Business Review and The Energy Project, employees that took breaks were 81 percent more likely to stay with a company. Seventy-eight percent of employees reported an increased sense of wellness as well.

I frequently refer to these breaks as an “Oasis.” An Oasis is a moment of fun in your life—a refreshing respite necessary for rejuvenating your psyche. In my new book, The Power of Having Fun, I outline the importance of discovering your Oasis in each of the three major areas of your life (Personal, Family, and Work).

The Work Oasis is how you go about taking little, meaningful breaks during your normal work schedule. Whether you work in a multinational behemoth with tens of thousands of employees or you’re with a small start-up, the Work Oasis is vital to your and your team’s productivity. Most often, these are micro-Oases (the plural of “oasis,” seriously!) that occur a few times in each workday. Occasionally, you or your company may make room for some bigger pauses from the day-to-day hustle.

Considering the Cost

Adopting a company culture that incorporates more fun is something most C-level execs will intuitively give their stamp of approval to. But, for others, more validation is required. After all, time is money, so let’s address the investment you’re making.

Each employee is associated with a payroll cost. Imagine that one of your best employees leaves. Maybe they became burned out or another company with a fun-loving culture poaches them and swoops them up.

What is the cost of that shakeup? Thousands of dollars? Tens of thousands? Hiring, firing, transition, and retraining, not to mention possible headhunter fees, can add up faster than a math professor counting cards in Vegas.

Next, consider the impact of a 2 percent increase in productivity due to this principle.

Based on field experience, I’d make a guess that the boost from taking small, meaningful breaks is closer to 5 to 15 percent. But 2 percent is a nice, safe, conservative estimate. This would yield one extra workweek of gained productivity from every employee, every single year. What’s the ROI for that kind of a boost?

Finally, consider the impact of new referrals from both potential customers and employees. Your team is the greatest group of potential advocates—or detractors—your company can have. Imagine a plethora of people who continually rave about your company to others because you’ve made it so simple for them to enjoy fun breaks every day. That’s the kind of marketing goodwill no PR company can buy for you.

Be the Example

Now it is time to take action in implementing a Work Oasis. Start with yourself and model the behavior. Take a micro-oasis every 90-120 minutes and let employees know what you’re doing. Talk about the benefits of improved productivity and happiness from taking these fun breaks throughout the day. When they see you taking a break, they may want to join in on the fun.

If so, schedule time to talk to your leadership team about ways to facilitate employees taking meaningful, self-planned breaks daily or multiple times per day. Think about ways to incorporate breaks weekly, monthly and annually.

A business is the reflection of its leadership, and your perspective at the top of the organization chart is pivotal to the culture of your business. Start adding these breaks for all employees into the workday and watch the fun and productivity soar.


About the Author

Dave Crenshaw is the master of building productive leaders and has transformed hundreds of thousands of business leaders worldwide. He has appeared in TIME magazine, USA Today, FastCompany, and the BBC News. His courses on LinkedIn Learning have received millions of views. He has written three books and counting, including The Myth of Multitasking which was published in six languages and is a time-management bestseller. His fourth book, The Power of Having Fun, releases September 19th. Learn more about Dave at DaveCrenshaw.com.

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