Accountants advised to have more fun at work

Accountants need to lighten up in order to be better at their job, according to research from BrightHR, which suggests those in finance put the least value on having fun at work despite working in a highly pressurised environment

BrightHR commissioned wellbeing specialists Robertson Cooper to survey  2,000 employees across the UK and says the data revealed some remarkable insights as to how employers can introduce more positive emotions to the workplace through fun and playful activities.

According to the report entitled It pays to play, those working in finance were the least likely to think having fun at work would motivate them to work harder (65%), compared to HR (86%), IT (85%) and legal workers (80%).

Finance workers were also the least likely to think that fun at work would help them to manage stress better (67%) or that they would benefit from a good belly laugh at work (73%).

Professor Sir Cary Cooper said: ‘Laughing and having fun won’t negate all the amazing work you do, it will actually help you improve the great things you’re already doing, and think differently about some of the challenges you face.’

Cary argues that having a good time at work can reduce absence, increase productivity and lower levels of stress.

Those working in professional services reported the greatest level of stress (44%) and also accounted for one of the highest proportions of those indicating that they felt workplace fun would help to alleviate stress (85%).

The top five activities that were felt to make work a more fun place to be were: dress down Friday (25%); office parties/nights out (21%); a pool table (19%); an office pet (18%); and wellbeing massage days (17%).

Other activities (in order of importance selected by employees) were a lottery syndicate (15%), charity fundraising days (15%), work bake-off (14%), table tennis (12%), computer consoles (12%), fancy dress days (11%), team sports (11%), yoga/pilates (10%), board games (9%), fantasy football league (9%), karaoke (8%), nerf gun wars (6%), a work choir (5%), swingball (5%) and a knitting club (4%).

In the report, Cary says the winning formula for a happy, healthy and high-performing workforce is to focus on two things: first, to ensure that people feel connected to, and interested in, the things they do at work; and secondly, to give them the opportunity to experience more positive emotions than negative ones.

The report says it is important for fun not to feel scheduled or planned in. Nor should it be offered as a gimmick or a one-off, and it definitely should not be seen as another meeting, or a task on the to-do list.

While the younger millennial generation is well attuned to having fun, the report says older workers might see it as childish and find it difficult to connect with. It states: ‘The idea of “fun”, however, is ageless – even though the things that people perceive as fun will change over time.’

Cary concludes: ‘Fun in the workplace doesn’t have to cost a lot, but its value could be priceless.’

The report is here: https://pages.brighthr.com/rs/217-MIC-854/images/It-Pays-To-Play.pdf

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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