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Play at Work

Amanda-Dokter-headshotMost of us are taught early on that work and play cannot coexist, that if you are playing you can’t be doing any work.  However, most of us want to either work in an environment that is enjoyable or to have our employees look forward to coming to work.  According to the fishmongers at Pikes Place Fish Market, play is essential to having a fun, enjoyable work environment, that’s why play is the second Fish! Philosophy.

If you ever visit the fish market the first thing you’ll notice is that fish fly!  Several years ago the fishmongers started throwing the fish to each other once a customer purchased it, from sales floor to processing station.  Previously the fishmongers would have to walk from the sales floor to the process place in order to process and checkout the customer.  By throwing the fish, not only do they have more fun, but they are also more productive.  In this case, a little fun increased their productivity and made working with fish a little more enjoyable.

Many companies have adopted this philosophy, most notably is Google.  They’ve transformed their work environments by using unique furniture, adding ping pong and pool tables to their break rooms, and allowing their staff to work in a very relaxed atmosphere.  By doing this Google has landed the #1 spot on Forbes Top 100 Places to Work list, a place we all should strive to be?

At Ketel Thorstenson we like to have fun as well.  We’ve adopted this philosophy by providing lunch and snacks to our staff during tax season, plan annual Halloween costume and pumpkin carving contests, host an employee golf outing and family picnic each summer, recognizing our staff for the hard work they do, and much more.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, we can’t do that, it’ll never work in our company.  Sure not everyone can add a pool table to their break room or provide food to their staff on a regular basis, but play isn’t just the activities you do.  Play is a state of mind, it’s the light hearted feeling you release inside people when they are enthused, committed and free to laugh.   It can be allowing staff to wear more relaxed work attire on Fridays, awarding the top sales associate with a fun trophy, or just infusing humor into your daily conversations.  Having fun or playing at work doesn’t require a huge change; the small things can make a big difference.

Play is something that comes naturally to us as kids; we need to find that again.  When implementing fun don’t forget to think outside the box and most importantly, have fun!

Amanda Dokter

Amanda Dokter

PHR, SHRM-CP at Ketel Thorstenson, LLP
Originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Amanda has spent the last 10 years working in human resources in both for-profit and not-for-profit industries.
Amanda Dokter

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