January 28th Reminds You to Have Fun at Work

January 28th is National Have Fun at Work Day. While some offices may celebrate with cake and ice cream, staff games, and other assorted activities for the sake of comradery, a question comes to mind: Why can’t every day be "have fun at work day"?

Millennials are beginning to pose this question on a daily basis as they enter the job market. With companies like Facebook and Amazon leading the way in company culture, having fun at work is no longer an oxymoron. Young, upcoming companies focus on company culture above anything else, and use that to propel the rest of their business. Employees of these companies are encouraged to take “outside breaks,” utilize the “flex hours” and hit up happy hour in the lobby when the day is done. More start-up companies are following this trend of a “cool office.” Trading the business slacks for skinny jeans, these companies are having fun at work…every day.

The key to this model of company culture is not bombarding employees with stimuli until they don’t know where to eat lunch. Instead, it merely provides the opportunity for employees to think creatively. With brightly colored walls, open kitchens, and "living room" spaces with sofas and large windows, companies are beginning to see what they should have done a while ago. Cubicles are now old-fashioned, and office plants are nearly a must. You may scoff at the lazy hipsters in their organic clothing, but look at what they’re creating! Socially sound companies are not going under – instead, they are thriving!

Gone are the days of just bringing home the bacon. Now employees want jobs that let them bring home the bacon and eat it during the workday…seriously, don’t knock staff brunch until you’ve tried it. Thriving company culture has gone from a “nice touch” to a “must have.” While older generations dismiss the idea of focusing on this area of growth, the next generation of employees will have it no other way. This means that even the most conservative company will look for ways to draw in new talents. The market is not only competitive for those applying, but also for those hiring. Who knew a pool table would make such a difference?

If you find yourself on either end of this predicament, as the employee or the employer, perhaps January 28th is the reminder you need. Work can be, and should be, fun! This doesn't mean you need to completely throw aside the foundational truths rooted in business, it just suggests a positive shift. Employers, give your staff something to look forward to when they come in. A fulfilling work day not only brightens the 9-5 shift, but individuals' lives as a whole. Employees, maybe this means looking for a new place to fuel your passion. Or maybe you can just headstart your company's culture...did someone say party planning committee? 

Michael Scott was onto something...did he perfect company culture? Probably not, but gosh dangit, give the man some credit -- he did try! Now it's your turn. How will you make every day Have Fun at Work Day?