Stop Trying to 'Make Work Fun'
Author: Attempting to impose happiness does more harm than good
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2013 12:04 PM CST

(Newser) – The modern workplace is in the midst of what might be called a "Fun at Work" movement, and author Oliver Burkeman sincerely hopes it's a passing fad. If your company has a Chief Fun Officer or a Happiness Engineer, he pities you. Worse, companies might be doing more harm than good in trying to impose blanket happiness on their employees, writes Burkeman in the New York Times. He cites studies showing that people get stressed out when they feel pressure to keep up a sunny disposition no matter what.

It's not that happiness at work is bad, of course, it's just the misguided idea of mandating it that troubles Burkeman. "Instead of striving to make work fun, managers should concentrate on creating the conditions in which a variety of personality types, from the excitable to the naturally downbeat, can flourish," he writes. His parting advice: If your title happens to be "Vice President of Wow" or something similar, "please skip the next company paintballing weekend, and use the time to ask yourself a few tough questions instead." Click to read Burkeman's full column.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Stop Trying to 'Make Work Fun' is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 13 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 13, 2013 8:48 PM CST
I don't get it. If you pick the right profession, you won't be told to whistle zippity doo daa through your butt cheeks.
Dec 13, 2013 12:38 AM CST
Where I work in pharma research, they put the world's worse person in charge of this. She is paranoid and insecure and quite possibly a complete sociopath, but hides it well enough to fool the big shots. It is not as if anyone normal would take on these activities anyway. Her idea was to have this thing called "Thirsty Thursday" after work at a bar. We all get 2 beverage coupons each and have to sit around sipping fermented fluids looking happy and trying to avoid saying anything about how much we would rather be with our families. The thing is, this woman is directly responsible for the loss of some of our best employees simply because she did not like them. She will engage in ruthless attacks at the drop of a hat. Everyone knows her history, and it is just a matter of time before the booze does the talking, and the next person "decides to seek other opportunities"
Dec 12, 2013 10:05 PM CST
Yeah! It's a stupid idea. NOTHING can or will "make work fun", not even a big raise!