On my drive to a local coffee shop yesterday morning I experienced my first laugh of the day at the hands of a surprising instigator. The culprit was a commercial eighteen wheeler with a cluster of red beets the size of oil drums on the side and in letters almost as large as the oil drum beets delcared, “Rockin’ With the Beets.” What a lovely way to start my day.
I'm a sucker for this kind of large scale, explicit corporate playfulness. It's always good for a laugh right before it stops me in my tracks and reminds me how important play is in organizations. Companies that don’t take themselves too seriously, who can be silly with what is plastered on their (presumably beet) delivery trucks are refreshing yet unfortunately not yet the norm. However, a growing contingent of business professionals is working to change that.
I follow a few of these people because they unapologetically emphasize the benefits of fun in the workplace, and their approach is getting traction in some of the largest companies in the world. One of my favorites is Alexander Kjerulf. He is the Chief Happiness Officer at Woohoo, Inc. and is the one who alerted me to the existence of a ball pit (featured above - Alexander is the one in the back with the blue ball heading straight for his forehead) at the Zappos offices in Las Vegas. When I asked him how the ball pit was used aside from general fun and frivolity, his reply was refreshingly simple - "they do have meetings in it :)". (Note the smiley face in his response. Why not, right?)
I've discovered other evidence of fun in the workplaces recently as I marveled at a mobile wine bottling production truck outfitted with massive speakers, a disco ball, and a staff full of gentlemen with impeccably groomed and outrageous mustaches.
Why not spread a little fun in your office today? If you can't go all in and convert a conference room into a ball pit, at least go for a disco ball or two.
Questions for you:
- When is the last time you had fun at work?
- How can you bring fun into your office today?