Can Working Be Fun? How to Make Remote Work More Enjoyable
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Fun probably isn’t your first association to work. However, research confirms that fun at the workplace is vital for a positive company culture and a happy workforce. So, instead of all work and no play, we should aim for a healthy balance of both, as long as we’re able to complete all our responsibilities on time.
Fun at work looks different when you’re in an office and when you’re a part of a fully remote team. How can you make your daily tasks more enjoyable when working remotely? Our team at Deel shares their best tips.
1. Gamify your day
Remember how in school lessons stuck with you for longer and you felt more motivated to learn if you were able to play a game with your class?
Things don’t change when you enter the world of work—gamification still helps boost motivation to complete your to-do list. Even repetitive tasks you usually find boring can be made more interesting if you gamify them.
Gamification is not a new concept, but has gained popularity over the past few years as HR specialists work on increasing employee engagement. Adding game-like elements to daily tasks helps boost employee happiness and productivity and companies like Deloitte can confirm the effectiveness of this strategy.
Here’s how to start implementing gamification to make work more enjoyable and improve your time management skills along the way.
Reward yourself: Create a to-do list for the day and then divide tasks into a few blocks. Assign a “reward” for each block. For example, when you complete the first block, you can go for a short walk or play with your dog. When you finish the second block, you can call your sibling or a friend for a video chat. When you complete the last block of tasks, you can take yourself for lunch or watch an episode of your favorite TV show.
Time yourself: Think about how much time you need to complete a specific task. Then remove all distractions from your workspace and set up a timer. Try to finish the task before the time is up, and then for the next task, challenge yourself to complete it in an even shorter amount of time. You can even “compete” with your coworkers, but make sure you still value quality over quantity.
Score yourself: Create a score system based on different tasks you have throughout the day. For example, one ticket in your project management system is worth 50 points. One call with a client brings you 100 points. One social media post published is worth X amount of points, and so on. At the end of your workday, calculate how many points you scored and try to outdo yourself the following day.
Read our productivity guide for 2023.
2. Don’t forget the music
Not only can music set your mood for the day, but it can also help you focus and be more productive. This is especially true for tasks you’re already highly skilled at and you can essentially complete them on autopilot.
Therapists who use music in their sessions recommend starting off with songs that are aligned with your current mood because forcing yourself into deep focus can be counterproductive. Once you feel you’re gaining the momentum, you can move on to power songs that will boost your motivation. If you feel like you’re becoming sleepy or demotivated, upbeat music can help you get back on track.
If you find listening to your favorite songs too distracting (because you know all the lyrics and can’t resist but sing along), you can easily find instrumentals that will match your mood.
Use YouTube or Spotify to create several playlists with different music styles and you’ll always have suitable background “noise” for work.
If you need inspiration for a playlist that will enhance your workspace, check out what our content team is listening to!
3. Move your body
When working from home, we often spend the entire day sitting. This can have a negative impact on our neck, back, and overall physical health. In fact, the number of people complaining about more frequent lower back pain has increased since 2019, the year before remote work became widely adopted.
Having a standing desk sure helps, but moving your body more intentionally doesn’t only relieve pain momentarily, but also helps in prevention of future issues.
Here’s what our team recommends:
- Frequently stand up from your desk and stretch your back and legs
- Experiment with different exercises to find what energizes you: going to the gym, taking a walk, a short online workout you can do at home
- Book time in your calendar to keep yourself accountable
- Get a buddy to keep you company and make exercising more fun, whether it’s a coworker that joins the workout virtually or your pup that you’ll take for a walk
Don’t forget to enhance this healthy routine with healthy and fresh snacks throughout the day. You can even prepare them while on a call with a coworker as a way of socializing and bonding.
Office watercoolers have never been insignificant—these casual conversations helped workers build interpersonal relationships and contribute to a healthy company culture. We lack these casual chats when working remotely. Around 70% of remote workers feel like they aren’t socializing enough with their team, which enhances loneliness of working from home.
To overcome this feeling of loneliness and make work in a team more enjoyable, engage in meaningful interactions with your team. Team-building activities are surely fun, but can you also make everyday tasks and projects more joyful? Here are a few ideas:
Create challenges and contests for your team: Race each other in to-do list completion or keep a scoreboard for a project you’re working on together. You can even use apps to do this: HabitHunter is a good example of how you can engage your team in a challenge.
Play a guessing game: Take a look at the metrics you follow (for example, blog pageviews for marketing teams or the number of resolved tickets for customer support) and try to predict how many you’ll have by the end of the day, week, or month. The person closest to the final number can get a reward!
Have lunch together: If you’re in the same or similar time zones, you can schedule regular lunch breaks to spend together, just like you would if you were in an office.
Use engagement tools: For example, Deel’s Slack plugin Connections randomly connects you with another coworker once a week. Then, you schedule a casual chat and get to know each other. This way, you can meet colleagues you don’t collaborate with on a daily basis and grow your circle of friends at work.
Build connections on Slack
Spark conversations with a remote team with meeting roulettes, watercooler prompts, and interest groups, all in Slack.
5. Beautify your workspace
Your home office can affect your mood and productivity. Everything matters, from how many things you keep on your desk to the colors of your walls. So, for example, when setting up your home office:
- Choose a place with enough daylight (work near a window)
- Avoid working in your bedroom
- Keep your desk clutter-free
- Enhance the space with plants
We’re sharing a few workspace tips from our team:
Get wheels for your desk: Ever thought of moving your desk around the house? If you install wheels at the bottom of the desk, you can easily move it to different rooms and chase the sun, so you can work in daylight for longer.
Invest in quality equipment: Decorating your workspace includes making it comfortable, which means you should invest in quality tools and equipment, like ergonomic chairs or mouses, a second monitor, laptop stands, standing desks, and more.
Read our list of the best work-from-home tools and gadgets worth trying out.
Change your scenery: No commute also means you’ll see fewer people during the day and sometimes feel “stuck” at home. If you have a pair of quality headphones, try changing the location you work from and visit a laptop-friendly coffee shop or a WeWork. Your mood will improve and you might create networking opportunities for yourself.
Have fun while getting the job done
Feeling inspired yet? If “all work and no play” is not your cup of tea, you’ll surely be able to apply some of these tips to make your work days brighter and empower yourself to do your best.
After all, we spend a third of our day working—it’s essentially our duty to make it as enjoyable as possible.