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Fun at Work Test- How do you Score?

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:50 PM

funny motivational speakerHumorous Motivational Speaker, Jody Urquhart

How Fun is Your Organization?

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Let fun at work happen, it will energize, motivate, and keep talented people on your team. Laughter’s invisible energy is a very powerful thing.

To be flexible and innovative in the face of leadership and change; take yourself lightly so you can take your work seriously.

Take this test.

How often do you hear people laughing at work?

A) Hardly ever

B) A few times a day

Select the word that best describes your organization:

A)  Practical

B) Innovative

 

A) Traditional

B) Imaginative

 

A) Down to earth

B) Visionary


A) Highly professional

B) Personal


A) Critical

B) Encouraging


A) Impersonal

B) Personal


A) Punctual

B) Relaxed


A) Regimented

B) Organized chaos


The more B’s you have, the more likely your organization is a fun place to work (if you have 2 or less B’s you may need help). Everything about fun is fluid, resilient, accepting, relaxed and engaging. The moment something becomes regimented, difficult, controlled or impersonal it is no longer fun. If you were playing a fun game and someone tried to control the outcome and regimented rules, objectives, timelines and personal quotas, the game would no longer be fun.

 There is no objective to having fun, because fun is in the moment, you are not trying to plan or plot. The whole objective is just to be there in the moment and have a good time.

Control the Work not the People doing the Work

Organizations are built around goals and objectives- so is it impossible to have fun at work? If you have had fun working before- than you know it’s not. The nature of work itself should be built around objectives and goals but this doesn’t give you license to control people.

I was a guest speaker at a conference and the keynote speaker suggested, If a work community suppresses humor, it is likely that it also suppresses communication, teamwork, leadership because employees’ humanness is restricted.

Humor helps define the human being. Humor is a way people express their true, intimate core selves, including their vulnerable, foolish, irrational, ridiculous sides.

Humor and the fun make these regimented environments fluid, engaging and flexible. Fun adds balance to regime. Fun personalizes structure.

 The more structured, organized, and planned a work environment is the more you need to have fun. Fun adds the fluid personal aspect that keeps people motivated and balanced.


Fun is an insurance plan

 Without it when things go wrong, the structure and plan fall apart, this regimented work environment collapses (or the people do). Highly structured organizations rely on logical analytical cause effect reasoning where employees can be rigid to respond to changing situations

When work environments are fluid and people are used to being flexible, they can laugh in the face of challenge and adapt to the new environment.

Organizations that are highly regimented and controlled are usually not trend setting and innovative. They prefer structure to change. They avoid conflict because it affects the status quo.

Humor conveys membership and builds cohesiveness. When you walk into the office and hear people laughing and talking this is a great thing because it means people like each other, they trust each other and they enjoy working together.

Funny often means giving up control

Questions to develop your leadership potential

1. Do I use humor as part of my leadership style? Why? Why not?

2. How have your past use of humor influenced the expectations of your co-workers?

3. What kinds of humorous situations or stories have you found most effective at work? List some acceptable and unacceptable topics.

4. What works best for you: self-effacing humor or humor that is directed (positively) toward coworkers? Why?

Experiment with responding to others in a way that is lighthearted.

Look for the funny honey..

Human beings are strange, unexplainable, hilarious creatures. Just notice how people look, what they say, what their intentions are. Notice the gaps; notice that interactions and feelings are unpredictable and messy. We are all beginners, all amateurs at being human, at interacting with others. Life is Messy and people are funny because they can be prejudiced, predictable, and picky. Find the humor in it.

Remember: Every time you laugh you orient your heart and mind

Regular Columns

1) Oh Lighten Up! Your quick, easy lighten up tip for the month

  • View your life in context. Even world leaders realize they have limited ability to affect others’ lives. While we might think taking the weight of the world on our shoulders is admirable it’s not good for you.
  • Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing
  • throw a pajama party at work

2) Game Spot - a fun quick activity you can use this month at work

  • Ask a group to brainstorm for five minutes on the qualities of the ideal team member and lists the qualities on a flipchart. The qualities range from having an excellent sense of humor, to being very serious about their work, to being an excellent goal setter and time manager.
  • Present definitions for “skill” and “attitude” and have the group come to agreement: A skill is something we learn, like riding a bike or speaking another language. Attitude is how we feel emotionally about those skills.
  • The group then decides if the items on the list are skills or attitudes (some may be both). Generally, attitudes dominate (approximately 85 percent to 15 percent)

3) Appreciation Station. A way to recognize, celebrate and appreciate people

  • HUDDLE UP! Create a tradition, stop everything your doing and “huddle up” for recognition moments. Everything stops for a few moments to recognize a great associate.
  • Simply stop. Stop chasing. Stop calling. Stop meeting. Stop worrying. Today, take a moment to stop what you are doing, call your people together, and give someone a much-deserved pat on the back.
  • Or make it regular and Start every work unit meeting with praise for accomplishments and behaviors since your last meeting.
  • A pep talk worth doing

4) Art of the Unexpected- Some funny simple tasteful pranks and other unexpected things you can try if you dare to throw people off guard and keep it fun

  • When someone wins an award the next day send out a memo to say the award has been discontinued
  • Go up to a complete stranger and ask if you can have your photo taken with them
  • Get some water guns
  • Get up, jog on the spot for 10 seconds and then sit down again.
  • Go up to a cashier and tell them your dog told you bad things were going to happen today and they should be prepared

 Jody Urquhart is a professional speaker who compels stressed-out and fed-up professionals to rediscover their passion, purpose & sense of play. To discuss having Jody speak at your next meeting please call us at 1(877) 750-1900 or email jody@idoinspire.com

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Tags: guest speaker, leadership and change, humorous motivational speaker, fun at work

13 Steps to Have Fun at Work

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:48 PM

Fun at work speakerThere are 3 ways to motivate people to work harder, faster and smarter:

1. Threaten them.

2. Pay them lots of money.

3. Make their work fun.

In today's workplace, threatening people has not been effective. Paying them lots of money (even if you can afford it) has only shown short-term success. Only number three, making the workplace enjoyable, has a track record of effecting real change. It is time leadership experts and managers learned how to create an atmosphere that is challenging and gives inspiration for creativity - a workplace that is fun for employees as well as for themselves.

HAVE FUN AT WORK- HOW FUN IS PRODUCTIVE
Imagine a motivated company where people love their work environment, and they are calm, stress-free and happy all day long. People who are in good spirits are more likely to be productive. Their mental attitude produces increased oxygen, endorphins, and blood flow to the brain, which enables them to think more clearly and creatively. They are more relaxed, more accepting of others, and more likely to share a sense of humor.  It is an essential interpersonal skill.

Laughter creates a bond that brings us together; people like to be with people who are having fun. Creativity, intuition and flexibility are key to successful operation of organizations today; employees enjoy their time at work in stimulating environments, and they will also excel at work. Attracting and keeping customers is easier in an environment of hospitality. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people for employment, it attracts customers, and it attracts profits.

A TEST: IS YOUR STAFF SUFFERING FROM TERMINAL SERIOUSNESS?

Scan your workplace and take note:

Do you regularly catch people laughing or smiling at work?

    YES       NO

When something funny happens, do people stop and appreciate it?

    YES       NO

Does your organization have fun activities at least monthly?

   YES       NO

Do you have tools (fun giveaways, draws) to invite patients to participate in having fun in your environment?

 YES       NO

Are managers usually optimistic and smiling at work?

YES       NO

If you answer no to two or more of these questions, your staff probably suffers from “terminal seriousness,” which negatively affects morale and productivity.

More Benefits of Humor in the Workplace
Funny inspirational speaker, Dr. Norman Cousins said, “Laughter is an igniter of great expectations.” Children laugh an average of 400 times a day and -sadly- that number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35. Preschoolers must know something we don’t. Laughter releases endorphins (a chemical 10 times more powerful than the pain-relieving drug morphine) into the body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress.

Humor also levels the playing field to create an atmosphere encouraging honest dialogue, open communication, and increased risk-taking. Creating more equality in power or control shows people respect and builds pride in their work.  Shared laughter is a team building exercise!

This is just a sampling of the benefits of having fun in your workplace. Hopefully now you are convinced you could use a “fun injection” in your own place of employment.

Help people belong to your organization and not just work there by giving them a way to solidify and build rapport.

THIRTEEN STEPS TO CREATING A FUN WORKPLACE:

1. Give up the notion that professionalism means being serious all the time.
It’s possible to take yourself lightly and still be competent and productive. Start to promote the benefits (health, productivity, inspiration, etc) of humor in the workplace.

2. Define what fun is in your workplace and what it is not.
(For example, harmful humor, off-color jokes, sexual humor, humor tarnishing the organization - not funny.)

3. Organize a “Fun Committee” for dreaming up fun “stuff” to do during and after work.

4. Add fun to meetings.
Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball and hoop, or party blowers. Start a meeting with a humorous story or joke. Invite a funny motivational speaker to pump people up.

5. Collect and share your favorite cartoons and jokes.
Create a Joke Board or a Humor in the Workplace newsletter. Send a Joke-of-the-Day email at lunchtime.  Look for tools to disseminate fun and funny things daily.

6. Let customers know you are a fun company.
Do something just for fun (organize fun customer events, dress for fun, share funny things with customers) and give employees tools to inspire a fun relationship with customers (stickers, candy for children, dog biscuits for dogs, humorous buttons with the company logo). These activities make work more fun for employees and strengthen the relationship with customers. Dick Snow of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream says, “We believe that we’re in the entertainment business and selling ice cream is just a part of what we do. In our stores the counter is our stage and the customers are our audience.” Sounds like a good motivational speaker. Disneyland has the same kind of approach: Disney employees are part of an entertainment experience, and they aren’t just doing a job. They are "auditioned" for a job. Humor in the workplace begins with letting people in on your secret.

7. Gather your co-workers for the “Joy of Work” hour.
Here everyone must talk about inspiration at work. Take turns telling stories about the things that make work a joy. Each person should contribute ideas on how to make work more fun.

8. Have a fun recognition program.
Fun is not a reward for performance, but fun can be a way to encourage employees to perform. For example, you could create “games” out of productive activity . . . who can motivate the most patients in a hospital to smile and say something funny to the head nurse. Playful and goal-oriented fun is best. Fun is spontaneous and the best, most memorable recognition should be unexpected. Fun and recognition go hand in hand.

9. Respond to fun when it happens.
Funny things occur all the time, but if you are obsessed with left-brain analytical thought, you might find it hard to stop and respond. Natural spontaneous humor is a blessing! Stop and take a moment to give employees and customers an opportunity to see the fun in the event. As a humorous motivational speaker the best speaking moments are the unexpected playful humor that naturally erupt.

10. Commit to being fun and it will change your approach to work.
Start slowly with a few activities and communicate your desire to create a more relaxed workplace. Don’t expect things to turn around overnight. 

11. Put fun things and activities in the staff/break room.
This allows people to take their mind off of the seriousness of work for a short period, so they come back to work more refreshed, with a more positive and balanced perspective.

12. Encourage staff to leave work behind at the end of the day.
Employees shouldn’t be so consumed with work that it affects their family life and leisure activities. Find fun ways for employees to “unload” at the end of the day or week. Encourage employees to create a ritual like writing a “to do” list at the end of the day and posting it on the board. By doing this, you commit to not thinking about the things on the list until the next day - and, as an added benefit, the next day will start off more smoothly if it's preplanned.

13. Encourage employees to develop their own style of having fun.
A nurse anesthetist at a hospital in Michigan often sings to his patients to help them relax prior to surgery. Patients have appreciated this so much that they have told family and friends about the experience. It is not uncommon now for the hospital staff to get requests for “The Singing Anesthesiologist” when they are scheduling their surgery.

Remember that employees create fun in the workplace, not managers. It’s a manager’s job to orchestrate fun activities (and not get in the way of them) - to provide an environment that welcomes humor.

Looking for keynote speaker ideas? Jody Urquhart is a funny motivational speaker who helps professionals create meaningful and fun work environments. For more information call us at (877) 750-1900 or see our website at www.idoinspire.com

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Tags: keynote speaker ideas, funny motivational speaker, fun at work, leadership speaker

Humor in the workplace, Sources of Resistance

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

Most organizations and their leaders claim they want their workplaces to be fun.

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Tags: fun at work, hiring a motivational speaker, motivational speaker about humor in the workplace

Wellness Benefits of Laughter, Physical, Mental, Social

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

Now more than ever, people need to laugh. Just look around, and you see overstressed, overworked people.

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Tags: motivational speaker, wellness, fun at work

Parks and Recreation Conference Motivational Speaker

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 @ 10:13 AM

I am a motivational keynote speaker for a Parks and Recreation Conference in June. From my pre- program interviews I am reminded how parks and recreation professionals and our nations parks have a positive impact on our communities.

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Tags: motivational speaker, fun at work, Speaker for the Parks and Recreation Conference

How to Add Humor to your Staff Meeting

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 03:11 PM

Next week I am the keynote inspirational speaker at another banking conference. To help me prepare for the conference speaking engagement, I spoke to a bank Senior VP today. He said he was happy to speak with me as it will get him out of another dull staff meeting designed to waste his time. Meetings, if done right will kill you.

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Tags: guest speaker, keynote speaker, fun at work, inspirational speaker, conference speaking, meeting, Humor in the workplace

How Leadership Can Create a Fun at Work Newsletter

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 @ 03:31 PM

During a leadership workshop we discussed how leadership spends too much time planning for fun instead of actually having it.

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Tags: fun at work, leadership, inspiration, Humor in the workplace, leadership workshop

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