2-minute read with ideas

On average, we work 2,000 hours each year. That’s a lot of time. It seems even longer if you’re not having at least a little fun or feeling a sense of personal well-being.

Gallup’s 2022 Employee Retention survey cited that 63% of employees considering whether or not to take a new job ranked better work-life balance and personal well-being higher than compensation.

In Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work list, 81% of respondents who ranked their organizations ‘great’ used a fun environment as a key criterion. Having fun at work increases morale, resiliency, productivity, and personal satisfaction, and there is science to back it up.

When we laugh, our brains release dopamine, and having fun releases serotonin, two powerful chemicals that help us relax, connect better with others, and take pleasure from our environment.

When relaxed, we have a more positive outlook and are open to new ideas. A positive mindset helps us deal better with adversity and makes us more resilient when there is a nasty client, a canceled contract, or a changed deadline.

Promoting an environment with play and fun maximizes creativity and productivity. There are lots of ways to have fun at work. Bob Nelson’s HBR article, Why Work Should Be Fun, offers four: gamify tasks, make one small change to your routine, play music, and vary your location.

I’ll add that a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction dramatically contributes to our association with a fun workplace. Here are three things you may not have considered to boost your sense of personal satisfaction at work.


Ask More Questions

If you are sitting in a meeting and don’t understand what’s happening, you’re probably not alone. It’s time to jump in and start asking questions. (Your colleagues will thank you!)

Asking questions connects us more deeply to our work and our colleagues.

Questions lead to clarity by breaking down complex issues, which builds confidence and opens the door for creative conversations. Questions help define the purpose of our work, the crucial connection between our function, and the larger business impact.

Collaborating with colleagues and reinforcing the purpose of your work contributes to well-being and makes your time at work more fun.

If you are looking for some go-to questions, here’s a list

How can we…
Why should we…
What’s our best outcome?
What’s our worst outcome?
What’s first?
What’s next?
What do you think?


Embrace Professional Development

Every employee wants their organization to offer professional development, yet not everyone takes advantage of what’s offered.

Adding professional development to your work routine ignites curiosity.

The learning you gain adds a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence. Feeling good about your work allows you to go to work with a positive mindset that opens your horizons to new ideas.

If you are starting professional development for the first time or the first time in a while, get your manager involved.

Here are some questions to ask to make sure the professional development you choose will have a positive impact:

What skills do I need to get to the next level?
Where are the resources for building those skills?
How will my progress be measured?
How can you help me stay accountable to my goals?
What internal opportunities can I take advantage of?

Completing professional development brings a sense of pride and ownership that directly contributes to your contribution and sense of fun at work.


Hire an Intern

OK, I just wrote Make Your Internship Count, a book for interns and their employers, so this may seem like a shameless commerce plug, but here’s the logic.

Humans are wired for community. Part of being a valued community member is sharing your expertise and teaching the next generation.

Hiring an intern allows you to share knowledge and be integral to developing another’s career. The ability to help another succeed adds to the sense of purpose we get from our work. It also reminds us that we know more than we may think and that what we know is valuable.

The opportunity to pay what you know forward to someone starting their career makes us feel valued and valuable.

Having fun at work and building a sense of well-being is largely within our control. Celebrate your effort and each step of your success.

If you need a reminder, write the two lines of William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus on a Post-It note and stick it on your desk.

I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.


New Book!

If you know or have a young person starting out in their career, or if you hire them, this book is for you.

Make Your Internship Count:
Find, Launch, and Embrace Your Career


Thank you for reading! Please share freely.