Have fun at work!

Enjoying your career choice is just one way to have fun at work; eight tips on how to enjoy your workday.

Enjoying the work you do is an important component of finding fulfillment out of your career choice. In honor of National Fun at Work Day on April 1, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development provides some tips for making work fun:

  1.  Obtain a job that interests you. Utilize career assessments and skills inventory to consider what careers would best engage both your personal abilities, your capacity to grow, and your interests so you can enjoy the work that you do. If you do not feel some satisfaction in the work you do, explore what might spark that passion and pursue that. At your current job, it could involve learning a new skill, experiencing a different role or taking on a leadership position.
  2. Get to know your co-workers. Humans are social and relationship-based beings. Thrive at work by connecting with your colleagues and peers. This does not mean sharing every personal detail about your life or engaging in excessive personal conversation during work hours but it does mean taking time to know who you work with and what makes them tick. Ask what they enjoy about their work and what they do for fun outside of work time. These interactions are a form of networking and it also helps to make work much more enjoyable. Networking can occur while out at lunch together, around the break room or in sharing treats with your co-workers.
  3. Team-building. If you work with a team, look at ways to encourage team-building. Do a creative project together, organize an out-of-work dinner or celebrate the birthdays of co-workers. Add fun ice-breakers or getting-to-know-you questions to staff meeting agendas.
  4. Celebrate accomplishments. Work can be challenging but great successes occur often and are not always recognized. Hold a quarterly celebration event to acknowledge the personal and professional accomplishments with co-workers. Create a board to post the growth of colleagues. Give a personal card or small gift to a coworker who went above and beyond or helped you out at work.
  5. Break up the routine. Sometimes getting out of your space can spark new ideas and a fresh passion for your work. Take a walk during your break. Change the location of a staff meeting to an outdoor space or another venue. Go on a field trip as a staff team and make it a point to come back with a new idea from that trip that can be utilized at work. For instance, if you work in customer service, visit another company that engages in customer service work and ask each staff member to look for a tip, idea or strategy that they noticed in this new place that would work in your company.
  6. Thoughts and Brainstorm Boards. Decorate the work space, break room or common space with bulletin boards or a dry erase board. On these boards, pick a theme and have staff share their ideas related to that theme. It could be related to the job or completely fun - holidays, favorites, etc. It is possible to even engage customers or clients in the fun by asking them to participate too. These boards serve to help staff get to know each other while also opening thought processes to creativity in the work environment.
  7. Turn off technology. Make it a point on Fun at Work Day, or other days at work, to turn off technology and personally reach out to co-workers. Instead of sending an e-mail, make a phone call or stop by their office. Talk to co-workers during your break instead of playing on a phone or tablet.
  8. Decorate your personal space. If you have a desk or personal space, personalize it as allowed by your employer. Photos of family and friends, small potted plants and inspirational quotes are all great ways to fill your space with positive energy and motivation.

Having fun at work is possible, not only on National Fun at Work Day, but all year round! MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development has many resources to assist youth with career preparation and life-skill development.

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