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Create An Enjoyable Work Environment

Most professionals enjoy their technical work and get a kick out of serving their clients well. However, when I visit some offices where groups of professionals are at work, I notice that the atmosphere is rather leaden. Conversations, few and far between, are serious. There is very little smiling. There are lots of heads down behind closed doors. Telephone chats lack animation. People wander through the corridors with glum faces. It is as though they all believe that you can’t have hard work and fun at the same time. I am sure that these groups get their work done. But I wonder if a creative sparkle is missing. I wonder whether conversations with clients and colleagues are just at the level of getting by. Fortunately the scene that I have painted here is the exception rather than the rule and, to be fair, I have never come across it in advertising and design firms.

It is clear to me that it is possible for people to combine hard work with fun and when they do that they are usually more creative and enthused to perform well. In short, they tend to be well motivated. Leadership by example is critical here. If you can laugh at yourself, exchange a joke or two, engage in some small talk, tell the odd amusing story about your professional work, listen to the light-hearted banter of colleagues and generally lighten the atmosphere you will almost certainly encourage others to do the same. There will be an increase in motivation all round. If you want your people to be creative and go the extra mile for service quality then making the effort to develop and maintain an enjoyable working environment for your team is a must. Fortunately all of this comes naturally to most people but some have to work at it. A word of warning is appropriate. Making team members the butts of one’s humour is often demoralizing to the people concerned. ‘Pulling legs’ is probably best done with people you know really well and with whom you have a very good relationship. This is especially true if you are the team leader.