Academy for Chief Executives Blog Rotating Header Image

Can work be fun?

– By Bruce King

Lots of companies have bought into the idea that making work more fun will improve performance. Some have ’fun’ or ‘happiness’ officers. One has a “Wow!” department that dispatches costume-clad teams to “surprise and delight” successful staff. Red Bull, the drinks firm, has even installed a playground slide in its London office.

But in many cases, these efforts backfire because they irritate as many people as they stimulate. As The Economist put it: “as soon as fun becomes part of a corporate strategy to make employees more creative and productive, it ceases to be fun and often becomes the opposite – at best an empty shell and at worst a tiresome imposition.”

Why fun matters

smile_240There are the several reasons that fun matters – none of which require a formal corporate strategy to achieve and all of which have positive business benefits. It enhances communication and builds social bonds that encourage collaboration and co-operation. It makes people want to perform well and be a contributing member of their team. It energises people. It stimulates creative thinking which helps people be more resourceful with challenges. And it encourages staff to build rapport amongst themselves and with customers.

But with fun, like everything else in life, how we choose to see things is how they will be and this ten word sentence sums it up very succinctly: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

What gets in the way of fun?

Here are the top five reasons I have heard from people as to why they cannot have fun at work. My comments are below each point.

  1. Ours is a very serious business and work must be taken very seriously.

But that’s not to say that you cannot enjoy and have fun dealing with something that is serious and important.

  1. Everyone else in the company takes things very seriously and I do not want to be seen to be not taking things seriously.

But if everyone else saw that you were achieving great things and still enjoying yourself and having fun, might they want to change their attitude? 

  1. The management won’t allow us to have fun.

Do you seriously think the management do not want you to enjoy your work? 

  1. We have too much work to do, there is no time for fun.

Might you get the work done faster if you were enjoying it and having some fun at the same time? 

  1. The public or customers would think we are not doing our jobs properly.

Well I am a customer too, and I would far sooner deal with someone who understands the importance of my questions and will enjoy dealing with them to my satisfaction rather than someone who sounds busy and unhappy.

So do you want to have fun at work? Why wouldn’t you? If you do, then it’s up to you, not up to the company to do it for you. We can all contribute to making work more fun and enjoyable, whatever our position in the company. True leaders lead by example and true leaders do not need titles to lead. YOU make it happen.


Bruce KingBruce King is a sales, marketing and personal growth strategist. He is a keynote conference speaker, sales and marketing master class presenter and sales trainer, business adviser to SMEs, a personal coach and best-selling author. A Fellow of The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management and the Institute of Directors, Bruce has more than thirty years’ experience helping organisations from SMEs to major international companies to achieving better results.

Image from


Leave a Reply