When you enjoy the work you do, the day seems to fly by in a blur of stimuli. How many of us actually enjoy the work we do though? Employee engagement statistics would suggest a pretty small number. For many, it seems work is something that has to be done, and we plug away in the hope that one day things will change round and the hard work will bear fruit.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. The long history of games has shown us that doing complex tasks can be enjoyable, dare I say even fun. These games have much they can teach us about how to shape the things we do in the workplace.
A good game typically has one of the following types of stimuli that makes them enjoyable. See how many you can integrate into your own work.
8 types of workplace fun
- Problem solving. We’re hard-wired to enjoy a challenge, and it is often the routine and un-challenging nature of work that makes it dull. Stretching yourself however can be incredibly rewarding.
- Exploration. This desire to solve problems often leads us to attempt new things and requires us to learn new skills in order to solve each problem. This sense of exploration is an inherently rewarding experience.
- Teamwork. The massive multiplayer environments of modern games should show managers how much people like working together to crack a problem. We are often natural collaborators, so you should use all the tools at your disposal to encourage this.
- Recognition. Research a few years ago showed that people value recognition and appreciation more than sex. A simple thank you can raise employee engagement by as much as 30%.
- Success. Back in 2011 Harvard academic Teresa Amabile released The Progress Principle. The book charts the importance of achieving success, or at least making progress, and its impact on our happiness in life and at work.
- Surprise and novelty. Relationship gurus the world over trumpet the virtue of keeping things fresh in a relationship. Novelty is kinda taken for granted in the social world because it moves so quickly, but introducing fresh things should be a key part of your working life.
- Creativity. How often do you get to come up with great ideas at work? I suspect when you think of those times, it was generally accompanied by a happy feeling. Just as challenging work is exciting, so is trying new ways of succeeding at work.
- Knowledge sharing. If you’re regarded as an expert in your field, it does wonders for your ego. The culture of hoarding knowledge and using that power to climb the greasy pole is hopefully slowly fading out, so get out there and show off your knowledge internally. There are lots of collaboration tools available now that encourage internal knowledge sharing. The chances are your organisation has one in place, so get out there and make use of it.
If you can incorporate these things into your work life, then the chances are good that you’ll become happier and more engaged. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips.