No matter what your job is, you want to have fun doing it.
On the other side of that coin, most companies realise this and try to keep their employees happy by hosting activities or events to encourage people to get out and have “Fun,” with a capital F.
In their new book “How Google Works,” executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of product Jonathan Rosenberg, explain that they hate “Fun,” with a capital F.
They loved Google because the fun didn’t need to come at a once-a-year company-wide BBQ: It was happening all the time. Schmidt and Rosenberg shared some anecdotes to show how their company eschewed “Fun,” yet still managed to create a lively, enjoyable culture.
In one story, Schmidt writes that Rosenberg had made a bet with head of marketing Cindy McCaffrey on whose team would have more participation in Google’s annual employee feedback survey. They decided that the loser would have to wash the winner’s car.
A simple challenge, except that when Rosenberg’s team came up short, McCaffrey rented a stretch Hummer and slathered it with mud. She also let her employees bombard Rosenberg with water balloons as he scrubbed down the vehicle.
This competition didn’t require an expensive off-site (though, the car probably did cost McCaffrey a pretty penny), and it highlights a principal that Rosenberg and Schmidt think is central to a successful company culture: The fun comes from everywhere.
“The key is to set the boundaries of what is permissable as broadly as possible,” the duo writes. “Nothing can be sacred.”
Rosenberg wasn’t the only one who had fun come at his expense. One April Fools Day, a bunch of Google employees found Schmidt’s professional work photo, and photoshopped a picture of Bill Gates into a picture frame hanging behind him. Schmidt apparently kept it as his Google profile photo for a month.
The point with both of these anecdotes is that employers shouldn’t try to hard to manufacture “Fun.” By letting employees have the freedom to goof around (and pelt their boss with water balloons), the fun will happen naturally.