Monday, December 10, 2007

Let the Good Times Roll!

Our firm’s annual holiday party is always one of the highlights of the year for me. We strive to create an upbeat environment all year-round at Makovsky … but this is a chance to really cut loose and lighten up.

I close the firm at 11:00 am. There is an original satirical skit put on by the “Mak Follies” players, all of whom are employees. We have a Secret Santa gift exchange and a “blowout” catered luncheon. There are lots of laughs and conversations. Then I take the whole firm — about 50 people — to a Broadway musical (orchestra seats!).

We take our fun very seriously at Makovsky + Company.

People who have fun on the job are more creative, more productive, more effective decision-makers and get along better with their co-workers. What’s more, employees who have fun at work have lower rates of absenteeism and fewer late and sick days than people who aren’t having fun. (This has been demonstrated again and again, by experts like David Abramis, a professor at California State University.)

But the main reason that I’m a charter member of the pro-fun party is a selfish one. If I’m going to spend a minimum of eight hours a day at work, I’d prefer to do it with people whose company I enjoy.

This is not a personality quirk unique to me. A 2004 Hodge Cronin survey found that a whopping 98% of CEOs prefer hiring people who have a sense of humor over those who don’t. Another study, sponsored by Robert Half International, found 84% of CEOs and HR professionals believe people with a sense of humor do a better job.

Just the other day, I happened on an article about a battle between the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox back in 2000. Chicago Tribune staff reporter Paul Sullivan writes about Sammy Sosa’s reaction when he slammed a two-run home run: “Sosa hopped high into the air and instantly went into airplane mode, running to first with his arms extended outward like a little kid in his back yard.”

I know precisely how Sosa felt. Who says that work and fun are mutually exclusive?

Technorati Tags: office humor, holiday parties, fun at work, sense of humor, Chicago Tribune, Sammy Sosa, David Abramis, business, communications, public relations

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