Workplace fun provides learning boost to employees

by L&D16 Dec 2016
Having fun at work might actually be productive for employees, as a new study revealed that workplace fun can enhance informal learning, which is a common way that employees pick up lessons that improve their job performance.

“Most learning at the workplace occurs independently at the desk, or with a few other people, not necessarily in a classroom,” said Michael Tews, associate professor of hospitality management. “When you have a workplace that is more fun, it creates a safe environment for learning to occur.”
He added the fun creates a better learning environment as people become more inclined to try new things without the fear of making a mistake.

The study also showed that a manager’s support for fun mattered more than his support for learning. Furthermore, fun among co-workers not only aids their learning but also brings them closer together.
“It creates this group cohesion. So, when there’s fund, then the co-workers may be able to get to know each other, have better connections, and be more apt to help each other,” said Tews.

However, workplace fun also has a downside, as it can hamper productivity. Managers should be selective in using fun as a tool for learning.

Though the findings look promising for the role of fun in the workplace, Tews said that future research is needed to validate the results with other employee groups.