3 O’Clock Rock! What We Can Learn From Microsoft

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On Friday, Wes and I were cleaning out our workspace and found a bunch of goofy colored guru glasses.  Most people had gone home, so he put them on people’s desks around the office for them to find on Monday morning.  So, this morning, when I looked around the office, I saw bunch of people wearing them.  It was so fun!  People were laughing, I got the courage to put mine on, and we took a picture. 

I have been really interested lately in how work environment affects how people feel, and ultimately how they work.  I know for myself that having fun at work really increases my motivation and productivity.  According to the article “Why Fun at Work Matters”, “an increasing body of research demonstrates that when leaders lighten up and create a fun workplace, there is a significant increase in the level of employee trust, creativity and communication — leading to lower turnover, higher morale and a stronger bottom line.”

A fun environment allows people to be who they are, and creates a safe place for ideas and creativity to flourish.  At Microsoft, they practice having fun at work by having “3 o’clock rock” everyday.  So, every afternoon, at 3 o’clock, they have someone in the office share songs off of their i-tunes list.  In this video, Scott Christopher, the author of The Levity Effect: Why it Pays To Lighten Up, says that it exposes people’s personalities, people dance and sing, and it lightens up the atmosphere. 

Not surprisingly, employees who work for companies on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” report a “fun” work atmosphere.  In fact, there is even a big difference in the “fun” factor between “good” and “great” companies. There is a 29 percent gap in reporting of “fun” at the workplace between “good” and “great” companies.  In the article, it explains that if companies want to make the leap from good to great they must solve trust issues which is highly correlated to bonding at work and having fun.

So, what can we learn from this? Anybody want to do a 3 o’clock rock!?

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