• Bill Petrie

Fix Your Fun

Stop chasing something that doesn't exist: the work/life balance

I don't believe in a work/life balance concept – I never have and never will. If you love what you do, the people you do it with, and, most importantly, the company's overall culture, there isn't a need for a work/life balance. People who need a work/life balance tend to be miserable at work, hate Mondays, and focus on leaving the office as early as possible every Friday. To quote Gary Vaynerchuk, "if you live for weekends and vacations, your shit is broken."

This belief underscores the importance of the workplace environment as a critical indicator of an organization's success. One way to boost a company's culture is to introduce a high degree of fun. What I'm NOT talking about is a monthly birthday celebration, surprise pizza lunches, 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 below three areas to ensure fun is part of the overall cultural mix.

Fun as a Core Value – It can be challenging to remember that employees come to work as a choice, not a necessity. By focusing on joy as part of the overall culture, you communicate to employees and clients alike that you don't take yourself too seriously while you take work 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 the promotional industry and have a natural curiosity. Train them thoroughly, then allow employees to develop creative ways to approach HOW they do their particular job. When you find people who love what they do and enable them to make the most of their innate creativity, work will become a joyous passion.

Let People Take the Lead – The best fun activities in the workplace are developed and implemented by the employees themselves. In other words, fun activities imposed by leadership 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.

The concept of fun is challenging to systemize, but if the importance is stressed across platforms and supported entirely by ownership, it can be a crucial component of an organization's greatest asset: culture.

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