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Charge up with a few light moments

Even though personal characteristics like intelligence and hard work are important for being good at and content with your work, there's an essential ingredient that is often overlooked. When actor Clint Eastwood came on stage to accept his Academy Award he said, "I feel lucky. I get paid to do the work I enjoy doing most."

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 14:46 IST

Even though personal characteristics like intelligence and hard work are important for being good at and content with your work, there's an essential ingredient that is often overlooked. When actor Clint Eastwood came on stage to accept his Academy Award he said, "I feel lucky. I get paid to do the work I enjoy doing most."

For many employees, the word "work" carries the negative connotations of toil, trouble and pain. Many still believe that work should not, in any case, be fun. Yes, our financial well-being does hinge primarily on our jobs, but injecting our work with a dose of fun doesn't harm our performance, but rather enhances it.

Having fun does not mean that you are not serious about your work or about doing a good job. It's important to care about what we do and why we do it, but being serious and caring is different from being humourless. Fun allows you to enjoy what you're doing. It's also about gaining the right perspective on your job.

One thing should be clear: fun is not synonymous with "play”. You could be working very hard and fast, breaking all the records, and still be having fun. It is important to know the difference because many times a boss/supervisor confuses fun for play.

The person may think that if employees are laughing or fooling around while at work, they are whiling away their time. Although sometimes people do play at work when they shouldn't, any activity, which helps people have their endorphins flowing, is a wonderful way to increase productivity.

Fun need not necessarily include laughter. A sense of accomplishment about your work is fun. Realising that someone appreciates your work is fun. Your boss or a colleague patting your back, a thank you in the mail, or a thumbs-up gesture can be fun too.

Fun is also responsible for drastically reducing stress among workers. Suresh Tiwari, Associate Director-HR, Eli Lilly and Company (India), says, "I have not seen many employees, who enjoy what they do, living under stress. The fact that they enjoy what they do, raises their stress threshold."

Analyse the people who are successful in their fields, not just by making money and climbing up the corporate ladder, but also smiling and making a difference to the lives of other people.

They are the ones who are paid to do what they love, who really know how to have ‘fun at work’. “Work should be approached as a leisurely activity", says Mohit Agarwal, an executive with an insurance company. True leisure is actually only a state of mind.

It comes about when a person engages in an activity that gives him satisfaction, control and freedom. It's a stark reality that too few people have light moments at work. This is a cause for concern when evidence suggests that employees who have fun at work actually also make more money for their employers.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 14:46 IST