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Is fun at work actually fun?

For years, mandatory fun at work was a dreaded duty. As the workplace turns more hybrid, it has become easier for employees to work more independently than ever before. According an article in The Wall Street Journal, many professionals now have zero interest in forming any type of workplace friendship. Is work fun out of style or is it still an important component of corporate life? 

Employee engagement is a current hot topic, and one way to keep employees engaged is by providing an opportunity to get together outside of the office (or home office). However, by forcing fun on your employees, it could have the opposite effect.

The days of mandatory softball games and picnics are likely behind us, but when done well, company gatherings and outings can be successful. The argument is split down the middle - is fun meant for everyone or does it push the boundaries between personal and professional relationships? Although team bonding activities are important for some, most agree it should never be mandatory. 

As with every argument, there are pros and cons. Some cons mentioned are that prioritizing these events divert time and money that could be spent in other ways. Some pros are that it brings people together in ways that aren't always possible with a hybrid workplace. 

If your team seems interested in doing more outside of the office, the first step is to take into account what your team actually finds fun. Learning how your team wants to spend their time outside of work will ensure that more of them will show up. Trying new and fun games, activities or sports that aren't as well-known can help ease some tension. Allowing employees to vote on what they want to do and opt in or out of attending provides the right amount of fun for those who want to participate, and lessens guilt for those who don't. 

So, where do you stand on the issue? The appropriate amount of workplace fun depends on each team and individual. Keeping things fun in a hybrid world is challenging, but can be worth it. Need some ideas? Check out this article for ways to integrate fun in the workplace!