I don’t believe in the concept of a work/life balance – I never have and never will. If you love what you do, the people you do it with, and, most importantly, the overall culture of the company, there isn’t a need for a work/life balance.
People who need a work/life balance tend to be miserable at work, hate Monday’s, and focus on leaving work on Friday. To paraphrase Gary Vaynerchuk, if you live for weekends and vacations, your stuff is broken.
This belief underscores the importance of the workplace environment as a key indicator of the success of an organization. One of the ways to boost the culture of a company is to introduce high degree of fun. What I’m NOT talking about is a monthly birthday celebration or a ping-pong table in the middle of the office. Those are Band-Aid fixes that don’t address the long term goal of integrating fun into your culture. Instead, focus on the four areas below to ensure fun is part of the overall cultural mix.
Fun as a Core Value – It can be difficult to remember that employees come to work as a choice, not a necessity. By placing primary focus on fun as part of the overall culture, you communicate to employees and clients alike that while you take work seriously, you don’t take yourself too seriously. If work is only viewed as a chore or a duty, both creativity and results will suffer.
Talent – Simply put, you can’t create fun where there is no interest in the first place. Look to hire people who like your industry and have a natural curiosity. Give them the just enough details to understand how clients spend their promotional money and then allow employees to develop creative ideas that become fascinating and interesting client presentations. Find people who love what you do and give them the opportunity to make the most of their innate creativity.
Let People Take the Lead – The best fun activities in the workplace are the ones developed and implemented by the employees themselves. In other words, fun activities imposed by leadership simply aren’t that much fun at all and, in some respects, can kill a culture. Hire good people, let them take the lead when it comes to creating the fun, and, most importantly, support them when they ask for it.
Share the Fun with Clients – When was the last time “client dinner” wasn’t met with a grumble and an eye roll? Exactly, and your clients feel the same way. So, instead of an overpriced steak dinner it’s much better to create a memorable experience centered around their interests: seats at a sporting event, a behind-the-scenes tour at a local craft brewery, or even a night out to see their favorite music act. These all give you an opportunity to showcase your biggest differentiator: your fun personality; and to help to create a lasting relationship.
The concept of fun is difficult to systemize, but if the importance is stressed across platforms and supported fully by ownership, it can be a key component an organization’s greatest asset: culture.
Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.
A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.