Work environment plays a vital role in an employee’s productivity. The more you improve and take care of your work atmosphere, your productivity increases in proportion.

According to ‘Working Mental Health‘, an organisation studying and working globally to improve mental health in the workplace, talks about suicide. Not a comfortable topic. What would you do if someone confided in you about depression, a sort of bullying professional environment and you suspected they might be thinking of suicide? Would you feel comfortable asking them or would you think that would make it worse?

When it comes to mental health conversations, a LOT of people believe that if they broach the subject of suicide with someone who has mentioned depression or other mental health challenges, that they may “put the idea of suicide in their head,” thus making the problem worse.

Because of this, many people avoid asking at all, when they could have helped someone thinking about suicide by having the difficult conversation.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, this idea that bringing up suicide will lead to or encourage suicide is false; it’s a myth. The truth is discussing the topic reduces the stigma associated with suicide and talking about it and give people the chance to tell their stories and explore other, healthier options.

In case you’re ever in a situation where someone comes to you for advice and you’re not sure how to handle the topic. In the past few years World Health Organization also alarmed about the increasing suicide rates, especially in EU countries. About one person in 5,000–15,000 dies by suicide every year, with an estimated global rate of 10.5 per 100,000 population down from 11.6 in 2008.

Especially in high-income modernised countries male and female rates of suicidal behaviours differ much compared to those in the rest of the world: while women are reportedly more prone to suicidal thoughts, rates of suicide are higher among men (suicide in men has been described as a “silent epidemic”).

The most suicidal country in the entire world is by a wide margin Greenland and Europe is the most suicidal region in the world, while the Eastern Mediterranean is the least.

Google’s Fun Culture

A major contributor to Google’s unique work environment is all the amazing incentives the “Googolplex” has to offer. More than 64,000 Google employees can take advantage of perks like free gourmet meals, laundry and fitness facilities, generous paid parental leave and on-site childcare.

Google’s employee perks are a massive popularity point for the company. But the most amazing thing this one of the best companies in the world provides is the recreation and gaming facility to its employees.

During the last few years more and more of the world’s best companies are transforming their work environment with fun activities. The need for staying enthusiastic and connected to your work has become more challenging after the global Covid-19 pandemic hit and when you are working from home it’s really tough to stay focused and attached to work without any solid attraction.

In a recent article published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is clearly indicated that, along with the tourism sector, cultural and creative sectors are among the most affected by the current COVID-19 crisis.

The crisis has sharply exposed the structural fragility of some producers in the sector.

Cultural and creative sectors are largely composed of micro-firms, non-profit organizations and creative professionals, often operating on the margins of financial sustainability. Large public and private cultural institutions and businesses depend on this dynamic cultural ecosystem for the provision of creative goods and services.

How Virgin makes it a fun place

One of the leading group of companies, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is the biggest example of making, work place a fun place. In a wonderful story published in Forbes, describing how the Virgin Group was voted one of the top seven best companies to work for in LinkedIn’s top companies list, it was evidently explained that the lofty position comes as no surprise to those familiar with the company. Indeed, Sir Richard Branson himself said that by taking care of employees at Virgin, everything else will take care of itself and with a net worth of approximately $5 billion, it’s hard to argue with him.

Sir Richard Branson has built his global business empire on his unique principles and ethics. While the common adage, “The customer is always right,” is important, Sir Richard follows his own beliefs. He is quoted as saying,

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

A recently published book coauthored by Branson’s daughter Holly, which chronicles the culture that binds various companies operating under the Virgin umbrella. A strong focus on the well-being of employees goes to the heart of what makes the best companies stand out from the rest, so you can perhaps imagine how exciting it would be to listen to Branson himself, about how important the company culture is to Virgin, and how he went about building it.

When asked for an advice to build a company Richard would always say. “Make it a fun place.”

It is clearly noticeable when observing Virgin employees at work just how happy and engaged they are. It should prompt every other company CEO to ponder whether it was their happiness that drove the strong financial results of the group or the other way around with strong financial results of the group driving employee happiness.

A positive culture with fun filled challenges creates the kind of openness to failure and willingness to experiment that sits at the heart of the lean culture made famous by Toyota in manufacturing, but is rare in the irregular service-driven world typified by Google, Virgin and Apple and other great companies these days.

In these company cultures employees are willing to provide suggestions and ideas, because they are praised for their efforts, which makes them unafraid to give their input. Their feedback is actioned upon by the leadership and is used to improve the quality of the offerings.

It is said that “Putting the employee first is the first step to success. “This also means that you should know what your employees actually need to be more optimistic and

productive. The most effective way to keep your employees happy and dynamic is Gamification.

Getting back-to-office life in a new normal has become a challenge

Employees are going to find the office very different when they return, with social distancing measures to remain a fixture for years to come. As Reuters offers several interactive games that simulate office life — from navigating blocked-off desks, one-way hallways, and more. There is a whole new way to transform work into fun, keeping it wonderfully productive. While change can be disorienting, experts urge workers keep a positive and enthusiastic attitude. Companies are also considering to appoint new cultural advisors for working in a social distancing environment for communicating workplace changes clearly.

‘’The only way to do great work is to love what you do.’’ – Steve Jobs

CISCO’s Fun place Solution

Cisco had invested in a global social media training program for its employees and contractors to build and leverage their social media skillset. But with over 46 courses as part of the program, it was overwhelming to figure out where to start.

Cisco introduced three levels of certification for the social media training program: Specialist, Strategist and Master, as well as four sub-certification levels for HR, external communications, sales and internal partner teams. It also mixed in team challenges to incorporate a healthy dose of competition and collaboration into earning social media certifications.

Since gamifying its social media training program, more than 650 Cisco employees have been certified with over 13,000 courses taken.

Engine Yard’s Fun Activity

Cloud app management platform Engine Yard had invested in a Zendesk knowledge base to encourage self-service and community troubleshooting, but employees and customers weren’t engaging with the knowledge base as fast as hoped.

Engine Yard implemented Badgeville’s game mechanics into its Zendesk platform that rewarded contributors with Achievements and introduced Missions that users could complete for additional recognition after completing customer surveys or reporting bugs.

Once Engine Yard gamified its knowledge base, the company saw a 20 percent drop in customer complaint tickets, a 40 percent uptick in forum engagement and knowledge base searches and a 40 percent improvement in customer support response time.

Examples of making a work place a fun place

You do remember how our parents at home and especially our teachers at school made education fun by using different techniques, right? And we used to like practicing our lessons the same way and compete against our peers to earn the goodwill of our teachers and parents. Well, times do change, but the habits don’t. As humans, we are more inclined towards doing things that satisfy our thirst for challenges to excel and out-do the rest.

The same inclination is also prevalent in today’s work culture. Employees like to deal with workplace challenges and win them. The trick is how you give them those challenges. And hence the employers, in order to make problem-solving more fun, have resorted to the concept of mixing gaming elements with work to improve employee engagement and productivity.

A large chunk of today’s workforce comprises of millennial workers. And one thing which sets them apart here is they require instant recognition for their work and they love gaming. Adopting a gamification platform that allows instant rewards and recognition on completion of tasks helps a lot in increasing the level of engagement and productivity of these employees at work.