In this blog post several benefits of Fun Breaks are introduced which increase employee’s work productivity. Fun Breaks are short interruptions by managers in the work flow and are related to humorous activities. I witnessed the effect of Fun Breaks when I visited my uncle Rosario Marseglia in Milan where he is working as the country manager for Crestron, a leading provider of control and automation systems for homes, offices, schools, hospitals and hotels (Crestron, n.d.).
Fun Breaks ease the atmosphere. When there is tension because for example a report has to be finished, a key customer has to be managed, or an important decision has to be made Fun Breaks should be used. The manager can use a small ball, a remote-controlled toy, or a ukulele and play with it in the office to distract employees for a short amount of time from the work pressure. This has the result that everyone in the office gets other thoughts – someone might even start daydreaming – and that might be the moment when the manager or the workers get a sudden insight on how to improve the work flow and solve a problem that everyone in the office was trying to solve. The idea to seek by not seeking originates from Taoism where a sudden insight might be the outcome.
Building better work relationships
Not only are Fun Breaks potential problem solvers, they can also create a better work relationship between the manager and the employees. This can be explained by using the example of playing with a small ball: the manager throws the ball to an employee and the worker in turn throws it back to another employee and so on. This nonverbal communication creates a stronger connection than speaking because it is similar to body language which is more powerful. However, Fun Breaks should not be used as a substitute for having a conversation. Instead they should be used as an additional approach to build work relationships.
One might object that Fun Breaks distract the work flow which is why they should not be used during meeting but when everyone in the office is doing regular desktop work. According to Dr. Lee Berk, researcher of Loma Linda University, a positive humorous laughter experience reduces potentially detrimental stress hormones, thus increases concentration (Lee, 2001). Therefore, by seeking out positive experiences like Fun Breaks, one can improve its well-being.
To conclude, Fun Breaks ease tension, build better work relationships and have the potential to improve the well being of office workers. Different managers have different personalities but every manager should at least try to build them into their work flow. There are many variants of Fun Break that suit a wide range of personality types.
Crestron. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2015, from https://crestron.com/
Lee, A. (2001). Funny Business. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200109/funny-business