Friday, May 21, 2010

What if work were fun?

This is something I think about often. In my previous jobs I had fun at work when I accomplished things that were difficult. I had fun when I rallied my crew together to make things happen, or when we were all just a little punchy on a Friday afternoon as we prepared for the week ahead. I had fun when I got to bring my dog in and she helped out by greeting everyone who came into my office with a tail wag. But this is not the norm. People just don't have fun at work.

Why not? How cool would it be to work in a place that lets you bring your well-behaved pooch to the office? Or feeds you lunch in a great cafeteria for free? Where you can have a treadmill desk or a take a spin class in the afternoons? A place to plug in your electric vehicle? On site daycare and preschool? A "quiet room" where you can just unplug for a few minutes? Yes, there is a small percentage of businesses that have cultivated a sense of fun in the work environment, usually in the name of team building and creative thinking due to some kind of expensive corporate consultancy coming in to boost productivity. It's rare that the fun concept is an everyday part of business culture. I'm not talking the recreational eating, once a month birthday cakewrecks in the break room that are served up to us as "fun". I'm talking about your job being one of the joys in a fulfilled life where your office is a place in which you and your colleagues do your best work ever. Every day.

I am betting that this is coming. I believe that more workplaces will add fun to their corporate culture. It's a way to draw in and retain good employees. People will be happier at work, therefore healthier and more productive, more creative and dedicated to the company's mission. Not just picking up a paycheck.

Employees are coming into the business world now who are digital natives. They are media literate, content savvy and are fully conversational in the new media technologies. Multi-modal discourse is the norm for them as is a sense of playfulness in the workplace. They are the people I want to work with.

Why is it important? Because as Douglas Rushkoff said at SXSW this year, it's program or be programmed. We need to be digitally literate if we are going to be relevant. We have to be able to know how to read and view the texts that are presented to us. Foundations and corporations are putting up hundreds of millions of dollars into creating curricula for education to teach this new media literacy which is needed now for our participatory culture in the workplace of fun.

This clip gives a really good explanation of what media literacy is all about:

Wishing you fun in your workplace, Happy Friday!


Lauren said...

Good stuff! Always educational and thought-provoking.

Lauren said...

Good stuff! Always educational and thought-provoking.

At the intersection of art and new media, a place where the convergence emerges.