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When there's fun at work you learn better and are healthier

Harold Mandel's picture
Fun at work

Researchers have found that fun at the workplace is fundamental to learning on the job.


There's an old saying that all work and no play is not really very good for you. Yet there are always some people who are very austere about their work environment and feel there is no time for any fun at work. Researchers seem to feel to learn better at work it's best to be in an environment where you are also having some fun. This fun at work is associated with better overall health since our work is so integrally tied into our overall well being.

Fun at the workplace is actually fundamental for learning while on the job

Penn State reports that fun at the workplace is actually fundamental for learning while on the job. And nobody can expect to get ahead without learning new things at work so this is a very significant consideration. A group of researchers says it may dull learning on the job if you are working in an environment where there is an atmosphere of all work and no play.

It was observed in a study that having fun while working was associated with informal learning according to Michael Tews, an associate professor of hospitality management. Employees can generally pick up lessons which can improve their performance at work with informal learning. Tews says that most learning at work does not necessarily occur in a classroom. More often this learning occurs independently at the desk or with some other people.

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Fun creates an environment which is better for learning

It is the position of Tews that fun activities themselves do not necessarily facilitate learning new lessons. It is instead how fun creates an environment which is better for learning. When people are working in fun environments they are more likely to test out new things and not live in fear of possibly making mistakes. It seems to Tews that when a workplace is more fun there is a safer environment for learning.

The researchers say that the support of a manager for fun actually matters more than the manager's support for learning. Tews say his research team has showed that fun on the job matters as much as or even more than support for learning. It should also be remembered that fun can bring workers together which assists in learning between the workers.

Resiliency and optimism of workers many be improved by fun at work

Although some managers look at fun at work as being a distraction it should be considered that the resiliency and optimism of workers may be improved by fun at work. This can unfold into improved attention with tasks. Nevertheless managers must be selective regarding how they use fun at the workplace to encourage learning and productivity in order to avoid allowing fun to undermine productivity.

This study has been published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. Fun activities have been found to be
significantly associated with overall informal learning. Support of management for fun has an impact on learning from oneself. These findings give support to the idea that fun has significant value in the workplace. And since your work and it's financial and other rewards are so integrally linked to your well being fun on the workplace appears to have value in promoting good health in body and mind.