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All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Most young professionals tend to forget this adage, as they chase their career aspirations.
While most organisations are realising the importance of making the workplace more fun, every professional should also try to nurture a positive and stress-free work environment.
Here are six simple steps to help inject some fun and life into your daily routine.
Liven up your workstation
I know a lot of people who like to personalise their workstations and create their own comfort zone at their desks.
You could have stress busting photographs, toys, pictures of loved ones etc.
"I usually change the pictures on my workstation every two weeks; I put anything from pictures of my last vacation to awards and recognition that I have received. It takes my mind off the stress and gives me 'pleasure moments' that are quite refreshing," says Awdesh, a web designer with Pixel Webtech Pvt Ltd.
Get outside your work area
Hitting the gym, cafeteria or the pool table once a day is a fun way to keep your sanity intact and also recharge your batteries.
Even if you don't have these facilities at work, you could always pick up some soft balls and play simple games with a colleague, at work.
In my office, we have a dedicated workstation with the latest computer games. All the team members take turns and play any game of their choice during coffee breaks or when they want some recreation.
We have seen people come out with great ideas right after they have finished a shooting game.
We also make a big deal out of every success; it could be related to getting an appointment with a client who was showing resistance to actually cracking a deal.
A few weeks back our team went out for dinner because we lost a contract to a competitor who is much bigger and has been in the business longer. Why did we celebrate? Because we finished in the Number 2 spot and our competitors were more experienced, bigger companies.
Don't wait for the big ticket event to happen. Celebrate small achievements and the efforts of team members. This will make them work harder and compete fiercely without the fear of failure.
Healthy competition is good
The role of competition is important. However, just don't take it too seriously.
It can be informal, like challenging a coworker to some kind of creative or output based competition. Or, it can be formal, like seeing who can get the most "stars" for being on-time to meetings.
You can compete on the simplest of things like who makes the maximum number of cold calls to clients to outperforming the sales targets set by the organisation, etc.
Joke of the day
Get a joke of the day sent to your e-mail and share it with your coworkers. Sharing a laugh can go a long way towards having more fun at work. There are several web sites that would e-mail you these jokes on a daily basis. You could even share SMS jokes that get forwarded so frequently. Remember that, you are never too old to crack a joke. Get out of the mindset that it would make you look frivolous.
Making friends at work
When you don't connect on a personal level with your coworkers, it is tougher to make friends.
Try and get out to lunch, or for a drink after work, with your colleagues. It really helps to build strong relationships.
Play a practical joke on your coworkers occasionally but be sure they are in good taste. No mimicking, mocking or politically incorrect jokes.
People who enjoy their work, usually tend to be more productive and get along better with others. So, let your guard down and have some fun.
-- Sunder Ramachandran is a Managing Partner at W.C.H Training Solutions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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