Delaware's Fun Department shows that entertainment in the workplace is good for business.
Look out: The Fun Department is coming. Is that a good thing?
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“We spend more time at work than we do with our families and friends,” says Measley, who hosted the WU party in full gladiator regalia.
Not everyone finds the Fun a welcome respite, however. Some employees will sprint to the nearest emergency exit when they see these guys coming. But for those who enjoy workday levity, Fun seems to deliver. Games include Cash Cubicle, which is based on the TV game show “Cash Cab.” For this, an unsuspecting cubicle dweller is given the opportunity to play trivia for cash.
But again, fun is subjective. One person might like bungee jumping. Someone else might think hanging from a rope is ridiculous. And not everyone loves trivia attacks. When the Fun descends on a building, employees are encouraged to interact with their bosses—or worse, some are forced to stack plastic cups. The majority of employees dig the camaraderie, while others would rather get a bonus and call it a day.
But here’s the thing: The Fun Department is thriving during an economy that necessitates budget cutting—certainly fun cutting. Love ’em or not, these guys are apparently good for business.
“They help to break the customary work routine by injecting fun and infusing teamwork at a competitive level,” says Jorge Echavarria, Dawn’s financial aid associate. “They promote teamwork within the department, allowing us to put aside the work mentality and show our fun spirit.”
Nicole Romano, human resources director at Wilmington University, says “They really get us. And most important, they always keep the big picture and our goals in mind. It’s not just about the great fun, it’s about getting what we want out of it.”
There it is: If you deal with Fun the right way, you get what you want. But you have to know your employees. You must understand the kinds of “fun” they enjoy. If you don’t, forced fun doesn’t always work.
Wilmington University has been named the 19th best place to work in the country by the Great Place to Work Institute, a global research and consulting firm. The Fun may have a bit to do with that, but then again, WU has long been considered a great place to work. The Fun sweetens the pie.
Fun folks walk a fine line between staff bonding and disrupting daily routines. Then there’s deciding which employees think workday fun is peachy and those who consider it a royal pain.
“Let’s face it,” says Lord of the Deal Doughty, “not everyone wants to wear the proverbial lamp shade.”
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