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The Influence of Fun at the Workplace

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In the quest for employment opportunities and job hunting, employees do not look forward to landing stress-free jobs. Consideration of a job as stress free lies in many criteria, including job satisfaction obtained by engaging in the work and the remuneration (Hemsath 2001). Recently, however, there has been a small revolution in the employment industry. Today, a significant number of job seekers focus on finding fun jobs. Such jobs like the ones, which deviate from old accepted ways of engaging in business, implementing, and incorporating certain activities in the work environment are considered fun (Topchik 2001). Employment in the video game industry can be presented as an example. Most employees in the video game industry consider their type of work fun to engage in and wholly satisfying. An array of factors serves as attractants of such employees to this line of business. To others, the freedom of being online all the time gives enough reason to be in love with their jobs. For others yet again, engaging in work that does not appear to be serious work in its own right does the trick. For such people, breaking away from the common perception that a work environment needs to be official and in line with the public view and expectation of formality is the driving force behind their decisions. Such perceptions have proved to be true. However, in  other instances, it has been shown that such “fun” reasons that drive people to certain jobs termed dream jobs such as those in the video game industry, are the same reasons that may significantly contribute to bringing down staff morale and work commitment. This essay concentrates on some of the perceived attractions that draw employees to certain jobs and how such attractants might in the end prove to be quite a handful to the individuals, or even a nightmare.

The influence of those in managerial positions and the leadership of a business on the role and contribution of the employees in a work place indeed cannot be underestimated. Entrepreneurs and managers are assigned tasked with the responsibility of making the workplace environment fun and worth engaging in. Studies reveal that entrepreneurs and managers who create an atmosphere in which play/fun and work are considered as one and the same enjoy remarkable productivity from employees (Price 2011). Studies reveal that such employees at times undergo enduring commitment and selfless sacrifices to perform the activities they enjoy engaging in and as a result, job satisfaction is ranked highly to them. However, in the midst of all this excitement and enthusiasm, the factors that look appealing in certain jobs are the same factors that in the end may cause weariness and consequently negatively affect employee performance (Krauss 2003). These factors come in many forms and ways.

Workplace play/fun elicits profound excitement among managers, scholars and practitioners on the need and value of introducing fun in the work environment. Since every manager and entrepreneur yearns to make his/her business attractive in terms of job environment, some have undertaken to introduce fun activities, such as setting up an informal work environment (Reilly 2012). Informal work settings deviate from the known and accepted norms of making the work place official in terms of dressing and engagements. Dressing, particularly, has been an issue to reckon with, especially among the new generation of young and dynamic workers. This group of workers seemingly prefers unorthodox dressing modes and ways to the long-standing formal and official wear (Reilly 2012). Their breakaway perception opines that informal dressing codes provide them with an avenue to express themselves in a fun and interactive way, yet still perform their work to utmost precision.

Whereas it is true that giving employees the liberty of dressing as per their wishes, it must be taken into consideration that such way of bringing fun to the work environment can grim effects on the business image (Berger 2002). Allowing employees, for instance, to don dreadlocks, piercings at unnatural places and even the clothes worn may take a negative toll, not just on the business as a whole, but also on the employees in particular. Customers who are strict adherents of the formal setting may find engaging such workers in a conversation, let alone a business deal a mountain of a task. As a result, such workers see little client turnover and have little work in their hands, much to their disappointment. In jobs that are customer-attendant related and those in which workers get commissions, it may turn out to be a loss altogether to the employee as he/she sees little business being carried out on his end. The impact may not only be on the employee as an individual but may also culminate to the whole business set up, to the dismay of the entrepreneur and the manager of the business.

Entrepreneurs desire and strive to live an integrated and comprehensive lifestyle and may extend this to their employees, in order to attain maximum commitment and participation of workers in their duties. As a result, allowing a certain level of freedom in the work environment, especially on use of business assets and property may take a central role (Eastland 2005). Such entrepreneurs and managers may give employees the freedom of accessing some services, the internet, for instance, in the course of or after work. The organizational culture may allow the use of such services in the course of undertaking roles and duty but may also be a way of motivating the workers. Such services may be seen as incentives, and indeed may go a long way in enhancing job satisfaction and attraction to the firm (Putzier 2001). However, all factors have pros and cons and entrepreneurs need to consider this fact.

The impact of the internet on workplace engagement is as immense as it can get. It gives employees and entrepreneurs the opportunity to cut down on the boredom in work places that sets in because of engagement in the same processes and activities on a daily basis (Krauss 2003). In this way, it acts as a fun way of improving employees’ appreciation of their work environment. In the same way, the internet can be a part of the activities of a business organization and its use may be important for the continued existence and progress of the firm. Some employees would prefer such a firm in preference for another that does not allow the use of the internet during working hours. This may prove decisive in drawing and having workers to commit to their professional responsibilities. In the same way, provision of the internet in the work environment may come along with certain drawbacks.

 Allowing the workers to use the internet during working hours, especially for organizations that do not require a lot of its use and application, may prove to be a handful to the employer and at times even to the employees. There are many tested, proven and documented negative effects of continuous and consistent use of the internet, especially in work places. To begin with, it may have a negative effect on particular efficiency and overall productivity of the workers (Topchik 2001). To the workers, the negative influence may even be more profound. Research has demonstrated that there exists a multitude of factors in the use of the internet that may negatively influence the individual life and the organizational performance of the employee in question (Estlund 2005). The employee may be an ardent follower of certain sites. Addiction to certain sites that pose a risk to their visitors in terms of health, finances or even security are common in the internet world today. An example is online gambling, a factor that may reduce a once productive, responsible and by any standard successful worker to a pale shadow and sorry shell of himself/herself. Online gambling may prove to be a nightmare to the financial stability of a worker (Estlund 2005). The same effects can be witnessed on social sites and networking sites on the internet. These sites not only take the invaluable time of such employees but also their commitment and loyalty. This results in deprivation of the employee’s family members of the time and attention. The negative impact does not only present itself on the personal life of the employee but also boils over to his or her overall performance at work. In the end, the same reason that initially acted to bring the employee into the enterprise and made him/her fall in love with the work environment and requirements may prove to turn against expectations.  

The topic of workplace fun is sensitive and complex and requires magnified scrutiny, evaluation and assessment. Most documented insight on it so far remain untested presumptions that are not evidence-based. In addition, others are theoretical assertions and opinionated contributions by people who believe there is a desirability to incorporate fun in work. The definition of fun in a working environment is variable and depends on the manager or entrepreneur (Putzier 2001). In other types of work, provision of flexible working hours is considered fun. There are certain types of work that present employees with flexible and variable working hours. This, by any means, appeals to most workers. Everyone would love to find time on the side to engage in other activities, other than their pre-determined ways of eking a living (Hemsath 2001). Time on the side allows them to get away from the work environment and take part in processes they prefer and enjoy. Overall, this may prove crucial in inculcating a positive attitude towards work.  

Flexible working hours may be decisive in employee selection and choice to take up a job over another. This is a positive attribute to both the employer and the employee. Flexible working hours pose a massive and significant challenge to the subjects involved. Factors such as morality, job efficiency and commitment come into play (Reilly 2012). Employees working under agreements of variable working hours may initially find the opportunity and the exciting experience. However, with time, and as they settle, the realization that such variable working hours that initially attracted them to the job may be the same reason behind their dissatisfaction with the job. This becomes apparent, especially when the said job comes in the middle of a pressing need. At that point, the employees may curse the work plan, especially if the working hours are stiff and unpredictable. They may view the “dream job” as being short of their professional expectation, consequentially having a negative impact on their work rate (Erger 2002). For employees whose working hours restrict them to working at night, the challenge can even be more heartfelt. It limits their time of interaction with friends and family, not to forget posing them to security risks. In light of most people’s jobs, the only time for familiarization with kith and kin comes in the evening. With their work schedules beginning at night, such people likely miss out a great deal on invaluable time with their family. On the issue of security, the night shift work schedule is more risk-prone, compared to other times, particularly during the day. Under the cover of darkness, criminals lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce on innocent people going about their businesses. Woe unto the worker if he or she is faced with such a circumstance and it turns out that the criminal can get violent. Loss of property, to say the least, is the likely result. Further, an encounter with such criminals can lead to far reaching consequences, such as maiming or even death of the victim (in this context the worker). This is definitely contrary to the worker’s expectations. Such work schedules that come with working during ungodly and uncharacteristic hours come with motivational factors, especially monetary ones (Price 2011). The motivation can be so significant that it blinds the worker to the dangers and hazards that underlie its undertaking. However, in the end it may prove too much for him or her, especially after a few hair-raising incidents and experiences. Flexible working hours can be the resultant cause of unwanted relationships or office romance, as they are popularly known. Office affairs present an acute problem and headache to businesses on how to handle the situation (Putzier 2001). Affairs in the office may take a toll on the employees involved, their colleagues and workmates and even the business, as a whole. When people engage in office affairs, especially illicit ones, they encounter a lot of challenges and huddles and the resultant effects may be detrimental (Topchik 2001). Awkward working hours predispose the workers involved to unregulated and sometimes unsupervised association. In this perspective, close and consistent association between the workers leads to culmination of feelings and emotions. This may grow into a full-blown affair. Such affairs negatively affect the families of the subjects, particularly for illicit relationships. On the other hand, even if the affair is not illicit, it may still cause problems within and beyond the business. In a way, office affairs have pros and cons (Topchik 2001). On one hand, they may help develop and maintain the spirit of teamwork and cooperation. Additionally they may enhance and improve the general relationship of the workers involved and their co-workers and subsequently improve the working atmosphere. In addition, workplace romance may be the main attributive factor to the decline of workers’ performance.

The feeling that comes with having an affair or being in love can be overwhelming in some cases, not to mention overbearing. It may be a great challenge for the involved workers to avoid each other and to undertake their duties and responsibilities accordingly and appropriately (Topchik 2001). More importantly, workplace affairs put employees and their co-workers in a position that likely sensitizes the work atmosphere. Wrangles and altercations arise, due to office gossip and hearsay. Alliances may be formed for or against the subjects. These impacts negatively affect the workers involved, denting their public image and dealing with a severe blow to their self-esteem and worthiness (Krauss 2003). It also has devastating results on staff morale. Such psychological effects may be reflected on the work productivity of the employees. For managers, bringing such affairs under control may be quite challenging, but necessary to avert further discomfort and disillusionment in the office. They not only affect the employees singled out but the whole business fraternity up to and including the customers. Some customers, especially those related to the workers involved, may not approve of workplace romance and would, as a result, view the business differently on realization that such trends and practices are tolerated (Topchik 2001).

The influence of fun and creativity at the workplace is an important factor that should not be underestimated. Having fun at the workplace is seen to have a positive influence on workplace relations (Berger 2002). Even then, entrepreneurs need to make out the type of fun acceptable and prohibited in their enterprises. Further, the effect of such fun on the task performance at the office should be clearly seen. Workers are having fun when they are included in the decisions and affairs of the business. Indeed, for fun to be achieved within a given setting, the feeling of inclusion must be felt by all (Hemsath 2001). Employees feel included when there is constant and assured communication from their superiors. Freedom of communication in a firm goes a long way in improving the working environment for an employee and his or her co-workers. However, the freedom of communication may illicit conflict. For instance, it is a common occurrence to find employees questioning the ability and the authority of their supervisors. Such employees resort to this kind of means of expressing their feelings due to frustrations that are brought about by lack of appreciation from the management (Price 2011).

To create a fun working environment, the entrepreneur or the administration of a business can devise various ways of making it a successful motivational factor in the working environment. In this light, the entrepreneur may opt to organize for, coordinate and finance company functions and holidays (Estlund 2005). Company functions are events in which employees get the chance to interact with each other in a less formal setting than the office environment. They get to share on experiences and personal thoughts and desires essentially, improving interpersonal relationships, which may be important in the progress of the business and its functioning as a team. At the same time, such avenues may create opportunities for employees to socialize at more than professional intimate level, thereby paving way for discomfort in the office. Likewise, during such holiday ventures, the employees may find themselves in compromising situations with other co-workers, especially after discovering certain personal shortcomings such as an addiction problem. Such social problems bedeviling an employee, when brought to light may have an enormously wanting impact on the employee. He or she may feel that his or her personal rights are infringed upon, especially when word goes around about their supposed shortcomings. This may have a negative impact, not just on their social perception of themselves but also on their professional work rate in the business (Reilly 2012).

Fun at work remains an important way of boosting staff morale and upholding responsibility among workers. Nevertheless, the boundary between work and fun sometimes becomes blurred and employees find themselves overstepping the boundary. It is crucial for managers and other business administrators to understand and appreciate the importance of employees to their organizations (Price 2011). For this reason, they are bound to make considerations of ways and means that improve productivity among their employees. The effect and impact of fun/play at the workplace in paper may look like a walk in the park, easily attainable. However, it comes with many strings attached, not just to the business but also to the employees. In practice, implementing ways of having fun in the work place without jeopardizing careers or business image is a completely new ball game that requires in depth research and analysis before embarking on making the selected activities of the organization’s culture (Krauss 2003). Job seekers also have the duty of making extensive enquiries on job opportunities presented to them and conducting thorough and exquisite scrutiny on the offers on the table to ensure they choose prudently.

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