Fun at the Workplace to Improve Work Performance

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 9
Words: 2514
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: PhD

Literature Review

The literature review focuses on existing information on fun at the workplace. It seeks to establish how pleasure leads to improved work performance. Although many researchers attest that fun in the workplace revealed through happiness and increased morale amongst the employees, it is not considered as a factor that can improve work performance through teamwork, optimism, and/or enthusiasm.

According to Tews, Michel, and Barlett (2012), fun is perceived as an important aspect of motivation, determination, and cooperation among employees in an organizational set up. Both tangible and intangible aspects bring about happiness and satisfaction in the workplace. Therefore, fun can be in a form of happiness or comfort that is felt due to the interaction with colleagues. A feeling of fun can also be drawn from games that bring people together (Tews et al., 2012). A research that was conducted by Choi, Kwon, and Kim (2011) to investigate a synonymous generation Y and its impact on change in various organizations revealed a competent, flexible, and technologically oriented culture that boosted work performance. The result of their work also showed that their behavior influenced both personal and organizational performance positively. However, one of the primary challenges that were evident is the inability of the team players to conform to each another. According to Choi et al. (2011), the situation indicated a poor management culture that fueled unconventionality in the teamwork.

One can clearly understand that a situation where flexibility exists, teamwork, and diversity can be put together through unison. Unity is possible due to a good relation that is brought about by fun and happiness. Therefore, generation Y can achieve high expectations and long-term goals only when they experience fun in the workplace to ensure team conformity (Choi et al., 2011).

This situation implies that the human resource management currently faces a challenge to attract and retain staff in a bid to remain abreast with the competition in the market. This problem is because of poor relations and management among the managers who ignore fun as a major factor in ensuring togetherness in the workplace. A meta-analysis research that was conducted by Mesmer-Magnus, Glew, and Viswesvaran (2012) to examine fun in the workplace revealed that employees experience humor is satisfied with their jobs and significantly exhibit improved performance. Such employees also form active teams in the workplace. The survey also showed that most employees did not disregard their assignments and were stress free.

Work Fun and Performance

In the article “Play hard, work hard: Fun at work and job performance”, Fluegge-Wool (2014) reveals that there is a connection between office fun and performance. The investigator issued an online survey to 245 respondents who evaluated three variables that included office fun, employee engagement, and positive performance. The result indicated that a high positive correlation existed between workplace fun and teamwork. This situation boosted task completion and innovation (Fluegge-Woolf, 2014). The research provides similar results to the one conducted by Ria (2014) in India. The case study analyzed the effect of workplace fun on job satisfaction levels and well-being of the middle management. It involved two companies namely Rosy Blue Diamond and Orra Jewelry. The results revealed that fun at workplace had a great effect on employee satisfaction in both the companies (Ria, 2014).

Several researchers including Sobral and Islam who conducted separate surveys in 2014 on the impact of workplace fun on the performance of intern employees also obtained comparable results. In another case, Jonathon (2011) reveals that a principal who remained humorous to his teachers significantly influenced their performance and job satisfaction. Wisse and Rietzschel (2013) also studied humor in leader-follower relationships. The research produced similar results. Sobral and Islam (2014) theorized that positive humor related positively to the contentment of trainee employees; hence, their interactions improved significantly. Jonathan (2011) concluded that principals who use humor in their institutions improved the satisfaction of teachers. The situation also augmented positive interactions amongst the teachers within the job setting. Lastly, Wisse and Rietzschel (2013) indicated that a leaders’ sense of humor enhances the employees’ sense of humor. It also reduces aggressiveness.

The above researches are significant for evaluating the effect of workplace fun and improved employee performance (Wisse & Rietzschel, 2013). They agree that work fun is directly proportional to efforts that are geared towards the accomplishment of organizational goals. However, a missing concept is that the works elaborated above were only limited to the advantages of fun with respect to performs. Therefore, there is a need to conduct further research on the negative repercussions of fun at the workplace with a view of establishing its adverse effects on the management.

Workplace Fun and Employee Motivation

Commitment in the workplace is determined by many factors. One of the main drivers of motivation is the state of mind or psychological condition of a person. Numerous theorists assert that individuals are motivated when various needs that range from psychological to physiological are accomplished (Everett, 2011). In the Abraham’s Maslow of hierarchy of needs, belongingness and love features at the second step from the base. Love results from happiness and fun among people; hence, it can be confirmed that fun plays a critical role in motivation (Everett, 2011).

Leblebici (2012) posits that fun is appreciated as a source of motivation since it gets rid of boredom and loneliness; hence, it can be used as a method to motivate employees. However, most managers spend a lot of resources and time seeking other means to inspire employees such as issuance of rewards and offering excursions to employees among others. Nonetheless, such practices fail to motivate employees since their individual needs are not met. As a result, employees feel neglected, sad, and remain pessimistic (Leblebici, 2012).

A research that was conducted by Kultalahti and Viitala (2014) to examine the opinions of the synonymous generation Y regarding the factors that improve motivation levels in the workplace revealed a balance between job and life was paramount to accomplishment of individual and organizational goals. Virtuous interpersonal interactions, flexibility, and room for creativity among others underpinned work fun; hence, increased the level of motivation among the members of the was realized (Kultalahti & Viitala, 2014). A separate study that sought to investigate the influence of fun at the workstation on the motivation of employees and growth of the organization revealed it improved the motivation of the employees significantly. The employees were enthusiastic and worked as a unit. The investigator further attested that fun improved openness and interaction among employees (Ford, Newstrom, & McLaughlin, 2011).

The above studies led to conclusions that work fun is one of the factors that improve motivation. However, the findings did not show that fun is an aspect that boosts employee enthusiasm. The prospective study will limit its scope to workplace fun as a factor that influences motivation at the workplace.

Employee Productivity

Leblebici (2012) posits that the productivity of an organization and performance goes hand in hand with motivation and job satisfaction. Most employers value motivation as a crucial aspect of improved productivity. However, a problem crops up during the selection of the methods that are used to motivate employees who strive to ensure improved production. Managers motivate employees by offering monetary tokens. This practice is insufficient because the employees develop a tendency to improve productivity when they are issued with rewards in terms of money. This situation also results in inconsistency that affects long-term performance amongst the employees. In many cases, employees under these conditions are not satisfied; hence, their psychological needs are not met.

The management should implement dynamic means of motivation to realize increased and consistent productivity (Leblebici, 2012). The working conditions in an organization also influence productivity and employee retention. Work environments that offer security, health, and safety among others to employees boost the morale of staff. This situation increases the productivity of the organization. Companies where the health of employees is not taken into account record low production due to increased absenteeism, work procrastination, and neglect of duties among others (Leblebici, 2012).

The current systems of management involve various approaches and techniques that are strategic, inclusion of fun as one of the sources of motivation as well as participatory leadership (Decker, 2012). Increased productivity in an organization can also be accomplished when the managers implement the best management practices. A research that was conducted done by Wiley (2012) on employee commitment to changing management styles indicted that fun in the workplace results in teamwork, enthusiasm, and improved productivity. Although many researchers perceive fun as a factor that improves employees’ motivation (a situation that leads to productivity), many people have varied perceptions concerning fun. For instance, fun also influences the organizational culture negatively. Some employees are not fond of fun while at work since it reduces their level of concentration. According to Decker, Calo, and Yao (2011), they view it as one of the sources of time wastage. This state of affairs has adverse effects on business development. Other issues that arise include conflicts among employees (Decker et al., 2011).

A research that was conducted in among Turkish employees revealed that various organizational cultures do not allow fun to be implemented in work situations since many employees perceive it as inconsistent, demeaning, and lowers professionalism (Decker et al., 2011). Successful implementation of fun as a method of employee motivation at work must be critically examined. The management units of organizations need to weigh various factors that have been omitted in the studies discussed above before its implementation. Issues that pertain to the personality, preferences, and behavior of employees must be taken into account when implementing fun in the organization. An entertaining scenario that is directed to individuals can encourage hatred and discomfort. In some cases, employees abuse fun. A tendency of exerting power over colleagues using fun is one of the most negative aspects that arise.

Other negative issues include usage of fun as a means to lay grievances on the management. It can also lead to dissatisfaction in the end. This situation can amplify employee turnover rates. Dismissal and demotions are also common when fun is abused. According to Decker et al. (2011), this situation has variously led to psychological effects on employees. Therefore, there is a need to focus fun on work concept and values.

Relationship between Fun and Team Building in an Organization

Team building is an aspect of an organization that encourages commitment to productivity. Various evidences indicate that the incorporation of fun in work processes improve collaboration among employees (Newstrom, 2010). Other surveys have also revealed a high correlation between fun and teamwork. For instance, a study that was conducted by Newstrom (2010) indicated that humor in the workplace resulted in job satisfaction amongst employees in the health sector.

Other findings also indicate that organizations that encourage fun in the workplace improved the relationships between the employees and managers (Cann, Watson, & Bridgewater, 2014). Implementation of fun encourages group engagement and consultation. This situation implies improved employee interrelationships that lead to efficiency in the workplace. The employees find it easier to solve work related problems due to reduced piling of work (Cann et al., 2014). The researchers emphasized on the merits of implementing fun in the work environment. Therefore, there is a need to conduct further research to address the adverse effects that can be detrimental to the organization.

Work Environment and Job Satisfaction

The workplace environment should designee to foster job satisfaction among employees. Therefore, managers should focus on creating favorable working conditions in the workplace. A research that was conducted by Gupta, Kumar, and Singh (2014) revealed that low job satisfaction and performance amplified absenteeism and turnover rates. Such situations also led to a loss of enthusiasm and morale. The researchers further affirmed that the evaluation of performance and satisfaction can be accomplished observation of employee behaviors such as loyalty, punctuality, and commitment to work among others (Fineman, 2006; Gupta et al., 2014). According to Gupta et al. (2014), nurturing a culture of collaboration among employees is a sure way of establishing a favorable environment that supports their contentment. This situation cannot be realized in the absence of fun in the workplace.

Leblebici (2012) posits that the workplace environment needs to be interactive to avoid development of boredom situations, which lead to discontentment and deteriorated performance. This situation results from internal environments at the work places that are cold and quiet. Inadequate ventilation and lighting increases stress, loss of morale, and lack of concentration (Leblebici, 2012). A lively work environment where employees exhibit positive relations interactions fosters motivation that results in improved performance.


Currently, there is a drastic change in the management of various business entities. Numerous managers attest that the implementation of fun in the workplace influences employee performance through promotion of teamwork, optimism, and enthusiasm. According to Fineman, 2006; Gupta et al., 2014; Leblebici, 2012), fun can be initiated using either tangible or intangible means. The intangible aspect of fun is a feeling of belongingness, happiness, and comfort while the tangibility is defined by the organizational set up through activities such as games and teambuilding.

However, people have varying perceptions of the meaning of fun. For instance, some of them regard flexibility, teamwork, innovation, and diversity inclusion as fun. These factors can be managed successfully through unity amongst the staff. It is clear that bonding among employees is enhanced by creating a pleasurable workplace. Hence, managers find it challenging to manage the contemporary work environments due to superficial application of leadership criterion that accommodate the implementation of fun.

Various researchers have attested that workplace fun and improved performance are positively correlated; hence, plans that bring about pleasure should be implemented in the management systems. Leblebici (2012) links workplace fun to motivation. Fun is perceived as a factor that should be taken into account with a view of motivating employees. The business entities that embrace fun at the workplace has gained significant competitive advantage over their competitors in the market environment. Other surveys have also related workplace fun to motivation, productivity, and performance at both individual and organizational levels. The above studies also hold that the implementation of workplace fun has a positive impact on organization outcomes.

Although the aforementioned findings reveal the importance of workplace fun as an important aspect of an organizational setting, many managers are still reluctant to implement environments that are pleasurable in their systems. They only utilize other means that waste resources to motivate employees. Such methods include improved wages and salaries, and monetary gifts among others. However, this situation is brought about by unavailability of adequate information about management. They also possess insufficient knowledge about the significance of fun in the management system. Most of the above-mentioned studies fail to highlight the adverse implications of fun in an organization extensively. Strategic management and incorporation of fun in various management techniques is hectic. Due to such aspects, the management experiences detrimental effects such as increased employee turnover and reduced morale among others. This state of affairs leads to decreased productivity. Therefore, there is a need to sensitize the leaders of organizations to create fun working environments with a view of improving performance.


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